One of my favourite places to find street art in Singapore is in Kampong Glam. Kampong Glam is the collective name of the area that used to be the designated Arab/Muslim quarter in Singapore. It’s home to the beautiful Sultan Mosque and has quite an unusual mishmash of cloth merchants, Middle Eastern food and hipster shops all rolled into one heritage district.
Kampong Glam is also one of my favourite places in Singapore to hang out and bring visitors to. I used to work around this area and spent many days walking up and down these streets, so I will always be fond of it, no matter how much it’s gentrified or changed in recent years. I also love that it’s one of the first places that street art became hip. I’ve put together a bit of a guide to help you uncover these cool murals as you absorb the vibe and history that this place has to offer.
UPDATED JAN 2019
Street art is ephemeral by nature so it’s always changing. I update when I can.
- JAN 2019: Added various works
- SEP 2017: Added Vintage Camera Museum + Hotel NuVe
- JUN 2017: Revamped overall layout | No Longer There: Records Lion
- MAR 2017: Added Singapura Club | No Longer There: Merdandy
- JAN 2017: Added new + revamped Piedra Naga works
- OCT 2016: Added ARC Coffee | No Longer There: Independent Art Resource
- JUN 2015: Added Sheryo+The Yok SG50 work
Spots to find Street Art in Kampong Glam
- Victoria Street
- Aliwal Street
- Sultan Arts Village
- Sultan Gate
- Baghdad Street
- Haji Lane
- No Longer There
Street Art Resources and Other Links
- Check out the self-guided audio tour version of this Kampong Glam street art route that I’ve developed for Voicemap here
- Looking for street art in other parts of Singapore? Check out nearby Bugis-Bras Basah, Little India and Chinatown, or see my full street art guide collection here.
- Here’s a link to my Google Map collection of these artworks and more, or check it out at the bottom of the post
- Interested in exploring Singapore’s street art with me? Head on over to @SingaporeStreetArt on Instagram to follow and maybe come along the next time I go walking around Singapore.
Getting to Kampong Glam
The closest MRT stations are Bugis (East-West, Downtown Line) or Nicoll Highway (Circle Line) and about 5-10mins walk.
This stretch is where you’ll find most of the commissioned street art works by Ernest Zacharevic in Singapore. He often combines his realistic portraits of local people with found objects, and his work is pretty popular in Penang’s Georgetown.
Walk down Victoria Street from Bugis and pop into Jalang Pinang to see YipYC‘s Satay Club and Kampong Gelam murals painted in 2016 for budget Hotel Nuve – these heritage murals reference a popular area for eating satay that used to be on nearby beach road as well as the Gelam trees that Kampong Glam was named for – you can read more about that here.
Location: 9 Jalan Pinang, Hotel NuVe entrance
Next continue down to Jalan Pisang junction where you’ll see Ernest Zacharevic’s Girl with Lion Cub which is quite a large piece.
Location: Between Jalan Pisang and Jalan Kledek
A little further down from that is the Vintage Camera Museum which has a newer piece by Singaporean artist Ceno2 whose portraits and art can be seen in many places around Singapore. This particular piece was done in collaboration with two younger female artists Bunga and Kare.
Location: 8C/D Jalan Kledek, Camera Museum
Walk further down Victoria Street and you should see more of Ernest Z’s commissioned work: Kids in Trolleys attracts a lot of people taking random photos because of the supermarket cart attached to it, as well as the Kids in/on Giant Exclamation Mark on the side of the AMC building.
Don’t forget to walk further down to the junction of Jalan Sultan and you’ll see the last Ernest Zacharevic piece: Boy in Window along a stretch of blank wall. I think this piece was updated or repainted at some point because my old pix had a grey wall/white window, but this latest shot in 2019 has a white wall/grey window
Location: Wall at corner of Jalan Sultan and Victoria Street junction
Most of the works at Aliwal Street can be found at the Aliwal Arts Centre which houses many different arts groups, including one of Singapore’s more popular street art crews RSCLS (say Rascals) on its second level. Pop by their studio when they have events, or look for their works all around the building – there are several walls here with works that change often, a rarity as most walls are commissioned in Singapore and rarely change.
Aliwal Arts Centre Side and Back Alley
The side alley has 2 smaller walls while the back alley has 1 very large wall. Also keep your eyes peeled for this tiny piece by Italian artist Alice Pasquini who did a little piece in the corner of the side alley area when she came to Singapore in 2013 to work on another piece for a school.
Location: 20 Aliwal Street
There is a nice wall on the wall right next to the entrance of the side alley painted by Singaporean artist Slacsatu called Batik for Aliwal Urban Arts Festival 2019 – it’s an updated piece of another work he has that you’ll see at the Sultan Arts Centre nearby (scroll down for more)
Location: Junction of Beach Road and Jalan Sultan
Sultan Arts Village
This rather obscure little building is easy to miss, a tiny arts enclave just a few roads down from Aliwal Arts Centre in front of the entrance to the Malay Heritage Centre. It is home to The Black Book, a shop run by a graffiti crew ZincNiteCrew (aka ZNC), which sells spray paints and apparel. They also run the occasional graffiti battle here, so keep checking out their practice walls. There is art on the walls all around Sultan Arts Village building.
Location: 71 Sultan Gate (in front of entrance to Malay Heritage Centre)
This was a commissioned piece by Singaporean artist Clog Two (usually seen these days as Ink&Clog with his partner InkTen) for the hipster foodcourt FOMO done in March 2018. It’s got a very distinct Japanese anime style that’s not quite like his usual stuff, but still super detailed and cute. The more you look at it, you start to feel a little trippy.
Location: 38 Sultan Gate
Down the road from Sultan Arts Village is a little alleyway where you can find this mural called Coffee Story by Yip Yew Chong aka YipYC. It was commissioned for the coffee house A.R.C. located on that corner and depicts various ways you can get your coffee in Singapore, from the traditional teh tarik and sock-filtered to the modern cafe and barista style.
Location: 29 Sultan Gate (side wall facing towards Beach Road)
Nearer Bussorah Street
Down the road from the Coffee Story piece is a new larger mural. I’m not sure if it’s complete at this point to be honest – I can’t decide if it’s mixing styles or still in sketch phase, but Kampung Spirit is definitely a reference to the surrounding Kampong Glam area. I couldn’t find a sign off, which is what makes me think it’s not quite done yet.
Some smaller artworks that can be found off Baghdad Street as you stroll over from Sultan Gate.
This alleyway is located at around 14 Baghdad Street, near the junction with Arab Street. It’s a small alley behind all the shops but you can see it as you walk along Baghdad Street. This work is by Zero from Nov 2018 and shows some of the many typical things you can see around the Kampong Glam neighbourhood.
Here’s another Zero work found this time on Muscat Street, a tiny road off Baghdad Street (the backside of the shops facing Kandahar Street). I kinda found it randomly and I’m not sure when it was done, but it’s a nice little surprise to uncover.
This lane is more famous for its hipster shops and attracts photographers looking for a colourful yet traditional shophouse backdrop; it is one of the spots in Singapore which has had street art for quite a long time before it got hip. You’ll see more works by ZNC here, and quite a lot by JabaOne concentrated at the buildings on the Beach Road end leading up to the alleyway linking Arab Street and Haji Lane. Some of the other shops have got into the act as well, with artwork on their shopfronts, it’s definitely a visually exciting place.
Arab Street-Haji Lane Linkway
The small alleyway is lined with murals on both sides by some of Singapore’s top street artists.
Location: Alleyway linking Arab Street and Haji Lane (opposite junction of Arab Street and Baghdad Street)
This work is by Slac, Asno and Myow of the ZNC crew, another longstanding graffiti crew in Singapore.
This colourful piece by Sheryo and the Yok is from the SG50 street art exchange and collaboration with the Australian High Commission – it’s called Textiles and meant to reflect the colour and pattern of all the fabric in the textile shops you can find along Arab Street.
Here’s another work by Ceno2, this time for The Singapura Club restaurant and features some pretty outstanding portraits of Singaporeans from different ethnic groups in black and white. Come early if you want to take pictures though because it’s pretty hard when the restaurant is open.
Location: 26 Haji Lane
Piedra Negra/Blu Jaz
There are a whole bunch of works by Didier Jaba Mathieu or Jaba in this area commissioned by the owners of Piedra Negra. This area sees so many tourists and photographers, but it is one of the prettiest and most colourful parts of Kampong Glam.
Location: Juice Clinic, 27 Haji Lane (cross junction of linkway and Haji Lane)
This particular Aztec piece from 2011 is pretty impressive but quite impossible to photograph properly because the alleyway is so narrow. Check out Jaba’s photos for a montage of the full artwork.
Location: Junction of Haji Lane and Beach Road
This giant piece on Ophir Road was actually completed in phases – it was fully completed in May 2018, check out Jaba’s instagram for better pictures. Too many trees to take a good picture!
Location: Junction of Ophir Road and Beach Road
Location: Blu Jaz, 11 Bali Lane
No Longer There
Here are some of the older street art works that I liked but have either been painted over or removed, thought I’d keep them here for posterity.
Google Map of Singapore Street Art
Of course as you wander around the area, you might across more than these artworks I’ve listed here – I’ve spotted several other pieces, but these are the main spots you’re likely to see more works, if you do find new areas to highlight, do let me know!
As you can see, I’ve been looking at Singapore’s street art scene a little bit more closely and started a side project to start documenting the locations and artworks so that people visiting Singapore know where to go and whose work they’re looking at. Street art is only starting to catch on, and it’s still illegal if you do it on public property without permission, but many building owners are starting to become more open to the idea of urban art on their buildings. Also, there are some spots which are legal for street artists to practice, like *SCAPE and the Rail Corridor at Commonwealth viaduct.
Do check out my side project Singapore Street Art on instagram @singaporestreetart – it aims to document all past and present street art in Singapore. Hashtag #singaporestreetart if you find anything cool that should be featured here.
Looking for more street art? See the full list here or check out these other locations in Singapore: