State of Art: Singapore’s first graffiti Hall of Fame, a Cheong Soo Pieng retrospective, and more

Pameyla Cambe, Lifestyle Asia, June 1, 2021

This month, Singapore’s beloved landmarks are getting a makeover.

The historic district of Kampong Gelam, for example, is now even more colourful thanks to the launch of a new graffiti Hall of Fame. On the walls are the works of the island’s renowned street artists, forming a vibrant backdrop that adds even more character to the neighbourhood. They’re definitely worth a long look the next time you drop by the hip cafés and bars in the area.

The Gardens By the Bay, too, now offers something fresher than the flowers: a major garden exhibition by iconic American glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Spot his unique, playful sculptures embedded within the lush landscape, or learn to make your own eclectic pieces.


Complementing all this newness, galleries elsewhere are spotlighting the work of pioneer Singapore artists, such as Cheong Soo Pieng and Mohammad Din Mohammad. Discover where you can view their historic paintings and find out what other art exhibitions to catch this May through our list below.

1. Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom

If you haven’t been to the Gardens By The Bay in a while, you’re in for a surprise. The Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and various outdoor gardens have been transformed by the wondrous glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly, one of the most renowned glass artists in the world. Get a glimpse Chihuly’s iconic installations, such as “Moon”, a massive orb comprising hundreds of blown glass discs that was last shown in Israel 21 years ago. Another highlight is “Setting Sun”, a new artwork by Chihuly that was specially created for Singapore. You’ll get to see the two side by side against the city skyline just for this exhibition, so now’s a good time to use your SingapoRediscovers vouchers.

(Photo credit: Chihuly Studio)

Address: Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Ends: 1 August 2021
2. Hall of Fame @ Kampong Gelam

Singapore, where graffiti is illegal, is now home to Southeast Asia’s first Hall of Fame. In street art terms, that refers to a series of walls that can be painted on legally, which is what you’ll now find stretching some 131 metres along Bali Lane and Ophir Road. On display are spectacular artworks by local street art pioneers like ZERO, Hegira, Slacsatu and Studio Moonchild. The whole thing is best experienced on a special tour around Kampong Gelam by Singapore Sidecars, which even comes with “in-flight” food options.

(Photo credit: One Kampong Gelam)

Address: Kampong Gelam
3. Quantum Supremacy

Belgian painter Delphine Rama and street artist Didier “Jaba” Mathieu have come together for a new exhibition at Cuturi Gallery. “Quantum Supremacy” explores the ethics behind data collection and digital censorship, especially as countries like the US and China continue to build powerful devices that work faster than supercomputers. Embedding symbols of quantum supremacy in their work, Rama and Jaba reflect on the theme in two different ways: her through abstract paintings with geometric shapes and bold colours, him through spray-painted or digital artworks with futuristic, three-dimensional forms.

(Photo credit: Cuturi Gallery)

Address: Cuturi Gallery, 61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937
Ends 16 May 2021
4. Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After 1965

Get a dose of local art history at National Gallery Singapore, which will play host to an exciting exhibition featuring six post-independence Singaporean artists: Chng Seok Tin, Goh Beng Kwan, Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin, Mohammad Din Mohammad and Eng Tow. The gallery will showcase over 300 artworks by them, as well as a wealth of archival materials that highlight the range of their artistic practices, including collage, batik, printmaking and more.

(Photo credit: “The Mistaken Ancestor” by Mohammad Din Mohammad, courtesy of National Gallery Singapore)

Address: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road, Singapore 178957
Starts: 7 May 2021
Ends: 22 August 2021
5. Tonalities: The Ink Works of Cheong Soo Pieng

Looking for more local art history? Head to the first-ever retrospective for Cheong Soo Pieng. Through his modern, East-meets-West style of ink paintings, the Chinese-born Singaporean artist pioneered the Nanyang art style back in the 20th century. You’ll get to see over 100 of them, spanning different periods of his career, at this new exhibition held at the Artspace @ Helutrans. They range between his famous stylised paintings of Malay and Balinese women, as well as previously unseen works from the end of his life.

(Photo credit: “Resting” by Cheong Soo Pieng, Private Collection)

Address: Artspace @ Helutrans, 39 Keppel Road, Singapore 089065
Starts: 14 May 2021
Ends: 30 May 2021
6. Reframing the Looking Glass

You may recall seeing Aisha Rosli’s figurative paintings at last month’s group show at Cuturi Gallery. Now, the emerging talent is making a return to the gallery for a duo exhibition with London-based artist Xu Yang. For their showcase, the two draw on their personal histories to depict their unique versions of reality. For Rosli, female figures seem confined within elaborately decorated spaces, while Yang’s Rococo-inspired paintings show women through a surreal lens. Given our regression into Phase 2, as well as the limited outlets for self-expression right now, the exhibition is a pretty timely one.

(Photo credit: Cuturi Gallery)

Address: Cuturi Gallery, 61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937
Ends: 6 June 2021
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