Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

This has come two weeks too late for Valentine’s Day but hey, just because the flowers are cheaper and restaurant reservations aren’t impossible to get doesn’t mean you can’t go out on a date. And this is a really nice date idea, especially since we’re not known for our lovely, nature-filled walking routes (or fun things to do other than mall-, bar- and MRT train-hopping). 

Singapore River One unveiled six murals last month, each situated within a bridge tunnel along or around the three quays. The murals or art installations were the result of an open call held in November last year, conducted in a bid to incorporate design and culture into the rebranding of the Singapore River. Six out of 30 submissions adhering to the “water and history” theme were selected to win $10,000 each, as well as at least nine months of visibility on one of the prominent bridges along the river.

It was a rainy afternoon when we did the walk—beginning at the Elgin Bridge Underpass (The Riverwalk) and ending off at Pulau Saigon Bridge—but it was still very pleasant, especially when we threw pitstops at Ricciotti and Toby’s Estate, as well as a river taxi ride, into the mix. Sold? Here’s some trivia about each installation so you can keep the conversation flowing: 

Elgin Bridge Underpass A (High Street Centre) & Elgin Bridge Underpass B (The Riverwalk):

Works by RSCLS and SatOne

, Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

SatOne or Rafael Gerlach, whose abstract underwater scene does a good job of alarming at the start of the walk, is the only foreign artist involved in the project. Originally from Venezuela and now based in Munich, SatOne specializes in graffiti and acrylic. 

RSCLS has become a bit of a familiar name in the local circuit. The team made up of local street artists like Zul Othman, Clogtwo and SKLO (yes, the same SKLO who got into a lot of trouble for her irreverent stickers and street painting) took over the other side of the Elgin Bridge Underpass with images from Singapore’s colorful pre-colonial past, highlighting memorable roles like the samsui woman and the coolie. 

Coleman Bridge Underpass A & Coleman Bridge Underpass B:

Works by Seet Yun Teng and Starry-Eyed Dreamers

, Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

The youngest contributor to the project and a student at Raffles Institution (Junior College), Seet Yun Teng brings a certain simplicity to the project, using inspiration from traditional woodcut techniques to convey what lies beneath the river and the waterway activity that’s made it famous. She also makes several references to Singapore in her use of symbols like the swordfish and the Merlion. 

, Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

Starry-Eyed Dreamers is a young duo, whose mural tells a pretty entertaining story. Imagine yourself an ignorant young boy from an era in the future, falling into a cloud of dust that unearths strange toys he’s never seen before. The installation titled “Time Machine”, makes use of objects of the past to portray the meaning the river used to have for children. 

Clemenceau Bridge: 

Work by Peenut Lee

, Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

The co-owner of tattoo business Vagabond Ink chose to address the current living climate in her installation, depicting the life of two young, working class Singaporeans. The line, “I love train rides on a quiet Saturday morning. The pace seems to slow down. Everything beats in the same rhythm, somewhat. And windows are all mine.” runs across the entire mural, whose main elements resonate so much with us we don’t think you’d run out of talking points either. 

Pulau Saigon Bridge:

Work by Doublexuan

, Singapore River One Underpass Art Project: Every night is date night

We think this is a mighty interesting bit of information—Doublexuan or Zhou Jixuan as she appears on our masthead is a full-time graphic designer at I-S and an awesome one too! She draws the The Unbearable Lightness of Working comic, which appears in every issue and can be a bit of a Wall of Shame. Xuan’s thoughtful arrangement means you’ve got to begin at the correct end of the tunnel so you’ll be able to see the development of events surrounding the river in chronological order.