The physical beauty of Tiong Bahru is not limited to its hulking high-rise buildings; rather, it is also present in the vibrant colours, murals and art installations that can be found throughout the neighbourhood. While the art of Tiong Bahru is certainly a sight for sore eyes, the stories behind it may prove even more captivating.
Background Of Tiong Bahru’s Art Scene
Tiong Bahru is home to a veritable collection of painted murals, contributed by a multitude of local artists. This includes the many colourful paintings that line the walls of the famous Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre.
Besides the Tiong Bahru Market paintings, another series of wall stickers was put up by local photographer and artist Ernest Goh as part of the 2014 Tiong Bahru Heritage Fiesta. This series consisted of five animal murals (including roosters, guppies and goldfish) meant to represent pets common in the area during the 20th century. (Sadly, due to the material used, most of the murals in this series have since succumbed to weather conditions and peeled off.)
Many of the newer, more elaborate murals in Tiong Bahru were created by local artist Yip Yew Chong in collaboration with the Seng Poh Residents’ Committee (RC) and PAssionArts. With planning and conceptualisation taking place in late 2015, the series was unveiled in mid-2016, and features scenes of Tiong Bahru in the old days.
On the mural trail
Stepping out of Tiong Bahru Plaza, the first mural you will come across is a giant goldfish swimming right next to the Tiong Bahru Post Office. Though the sticker has undoubtedly seen better days, the artistic technique used remains as impressive as ever.
A little deeper into the heart of the Tiong Bahru housing estate, you’ll next chance upon a family of adorable, friendly-looking goats. Located on different walls both inside and outside the Tiong Bahru Market, the furry creatures are sure to brighten your day.
Just beyond the market on Seng Poh Road lies a reminder of days long past: a mural depicting the old “Bird Corner” where residents would bring their caged birds to hear them sing. Stand there to admire it for long enough, and you can almost hear the sounds of chirping and lively banter—almost as if you were really there.
Tucked into an unassuming alleyway on Eng Watt Street is a truly elaborate shot: a bustling
Finally, at the far edge of the estate on Tiong Poh Road, we come to perhaps the most familiar of scenes: a lazy afternoon spent reclining in one’s chair, reading the newspaper while the TV blares in the background. Through the window, a gentle breeze rustles the curtains, while the electric fan whirrs with all its might to combat the unrelenting heat.
Mural-hopping in Tiong Bahru is certainly an enthralling activity—one that may even take up your whole afternoon. So if you have some time to kill and are looking for a truly eye-opening experience, why not try your hand at tracking down these works of art? Because the more you learn about this charming district, the less you’ll want to leave.
Galleries in Tiong Bahru
Not to be underestimated, Tiong Bahru is also home to not one but two art galleries, each showcasing an extensive portfolio of paintings, sculptures and more. For an enriching intellectual experience—and a brief respite from Singapore’s infamously scorching weather—head down to either one of these exciting visual art centres.
At this hole-in-the-wall art space, what’s old is new again. With a focus on refined artworks, Degiosart boasts carefully curated collections of both European and Asian art, ranging from priceless antiques to contemporary objects. Challenge your sense of aesthetic beauty as you observe everything from beautifully woven textiles to rare Tibetan manuscript covers. One thing’s for sure: once you’ve gotten a taste of what art truly is, you’ll never be quite the same.
- Address: Block 57, #01-82 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160057
- Opening hours: 10.00am–7.00pm daily
- Tel: 9698 6038
Singapore’s foremost supplier of contemporary Vietnamese art features an extensive (and unparalleled) collection within its cosy interiors. Coupled with its network of connections to many of Vietnam’s rising artists, and its uniquely personalised service, you can be sure that any visit here will be an experience to remember. Here, you can enjoy private viewings and personal consultations with just one phone call, and even gain access to some of its exclusive invitation-only events.
- Address: 23 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168652
- Opening hours: 10.00am–7.00pm (Wednesday–Sunday). Closed on Monday–Tuesday
- Tel: 9752 5458 or 9730 5299
Written By: Soh Ying Qi