About half of Singapore’s population commutes via public transport whether via the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) or by bus, which means peak hours can often be an uncomfortable period especially when you’re unwittingly pressed up against a total stranger in a train carriage.
To brighten up those dreary mornings when you dread heading into work and battling for a seat (or even breathing space), Singapore’s Land Transport Authority has incorporated art into MRT stations since the first phases of construction, even going on to develop the Art in Transit Programme on the North East, Circle and Downtown line.
In this article we bring you ten of our favourite works that we think will brighten up your morning commute! If you’re interested in learning even more about the artworks in these spaces, you can get in contact with Art Outreach Singapore, who often provide walking tours of these works or just pick up a day pass and explore them yourself!
Dreams in Social Cosmix Odyssey by Phunk Studio at Promenade (CC4)
Inspired by the idea of a promenade being next to a large body of water, Singapore Neo-Pop Art collective Phunk Studioproduced this large-scale suspended sculpture that resembles water droplets. Thousands of steel platelets have been attached to the work, which when hit by sunlight creates a reflective effect similar to that of reflections on water.
The Sign of Times by Salleh Japar at Paya Lebar (CC9)
Located in Paya Lebar, an area that was known for cultivating market produce, including pig and poultry, Japar draws on the history of the station’s location with this vibrant mural. The Sign of Times includes imagery of stacked pigs alongside iconic landmarks such as the wireless tower and community tap.
The Coin Mat by Jane Lee at Bartley (CC12)
At Bartley station’s ticketing kiosks, Singaporean artist Jane Leeuses 164,800 Singaporean one-cent coins embedded within glass panels. Each coin has developed a unique patina that when placed next to each other, highlight each coin’s individual characteristics within their similarities.
Flowers in Blossom II by Tay Chee Toh at Marina Bay (CE2)
When in Marina Bay MRT station next time, remember to look up! Cultural Medallion Award winner Tay Chee Toh is known for the hanging mobiles that he has developed since the late 1980s. Flowers in Blossom II is his second commission for the LTA (his first was a similar hanging mobile at the old Orchard MRT on which the Marina Bay one is based), combining a graphic quality with a modernist twist on traditional Southeast Asian motifs.
What Remains by Darren Soh at Hillview (DT3)
For some people, the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway line was a means to travel between Singapore and Kular Lumpur, Malaysia. Darreh Soh pays homage to this memory by documenting the remnants of the KTM railway line bridge located not too far from the Hillview MRT station through this series of images. Hauntingly poignant, these large-scale images remind us of the rapidly changing pace of life in Singapore.
Woven Field by Grace Tan at Little India (DT12) Woven Field is a landscape of tessellated triangular modules inspired by traditional singhaulia patterns commonly seen in saris. Incorporated into the organic architectural fins of the station, these geometric configurations mimic the weaving techniques of a sari cloth. It plays into the location of the station, which was an early settlement area for Indian immigrants coming over to Singapore in the 1880s and remains a hub of activity today.
Leaves by Jason Lim at Downtown (DT17)
This beautiful two storey mosaic work by Singapore ceramic artist Jason Lim is inspired the biological structure of bamboo, Lim draws parallels between the dense cell network of leaves and the intricate network of the financial district the station is located in.
Punctum of the Long Hills by John Clang at Bukit Panjang (DT1)
Bukit Panjang translated from Malay means ‘long hills’, represented by the row of tall flats in Clang’s Punctum of the Long Hills. There is a sense of adventure within this large-scale photographic work indicted by the presence of the kampong (village) boys, whose impossible size point to a world of fantasy and exploration.
The Reflections by Chua Ek Kay at Clarke Quay (NE5)
Singaporean modern artist Chua Ek Kay is considered an institution in the local art scene. Clarke Quay MRT station features a 60m long mural by Chua, depicting life on the Singapore River, which is located just next to the station. A composite of four paintings, it represents the Singapore River as the city’s lifeline and integral nature in the 19th century way of life.
Point of View by Matthew Ngui at Potong Pasir (NE10)
Point of View is an anamorphic work in which one can only start to make out the otherwise the images comprised out of images and text. The work blends aspirations of everyday people with familiar icons of government housing flats that are an integral part of Singapore’s cityscape.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.