With travel restrictions still in place and the long school break around the corner, families are scrambling for fun recreational activities to enjoy together. What better way to build bonds and walk up a sweat than to go mural-hunting? Not only is it a nice change from the usual attractions, it’s guaranteed to engage bored kids and grandparents alike!
Gone are the days when murals or wall art are considered graffiti and blots on our urban landscape. These days, such exuberant street art are not only a visual treat for the community; they have become mini history lessons opening windows into Singapore’s past.
Here is the best collection of Insta-worthy spots for your family wall crawl:
1. Kampong Glam & the Bras Basah-Bugis arts district
The Arab and Malay heritage quarters of Kampong Glam is the centre of Singapore’s street art scene. Wander the streets of Haji Lane and Aliwal Art Centre to spot the stunning Aztec-inspired, space-themed works of Colombian artist Didier Jaba Mathieu and other muralists.
Take a short walk over to the nearby Bras Basah-Bugis district. Discover collaborative art projects by local and regional street artists at 222 Queen Street, or take a trip down memory lane through an interactive corridor of nostalgic Singapore scenes at 51 Waterloo Street.
Image source: Singapore Tourism Board
2. Chinatown area
Chinatown Complex — with its popular hawker centre, is home to several murals of early pioneers such as the Samsui woman and vanished trades like letter writers.
Nearby at the historic Thian Hock Keng Temple runs a sprawling, 40-metre long wall mural that our grandparents would love. Lovingly rendered by local artist Yip Yew Chong, it depicts scenes from the everyday lives of Hokkiens in early Singapore.
For teens and the young-at-heart, look for the whimsical art works of local creative duo Ripple Root at Keong Saik Road.
Image source: Ripple Root
3. Little India
It’s Bollywood meets tradition in the street art of Little India. Stroll down Serangoon Road and savour its rich history with colourful alleyway murals referencing its horse racing past and the traditional trades that used to ply the area.
If your grandparents are big Bollywood fans, surprise them with the larger-than-life portrait of legendary actor and everyday hero Rajinikanth emblazoned on the wall of 11 Hindoo Road!
Image source: Roots.gov.sg
4. Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru is the neighbourhood where retro-hip meets nostalgia, and the wall art reflects just that! Catch a glimpse of Singapore in the 60s and 70s as artist Yip Yew Chong recreates scenes of domestic life during that period. Grandparents would have a field day pointing out details from their youth like the rattan chair, black-and-white TV and popular street vendors to the young ones in the family.
While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for creative talent Ernest Goh’s Goat (and other animal) murals scattered throughout the vicinity of the iconic Tiong Bahru Market!
Image source: Yip Yew Chong