MOST POPULAR PUBLIC ART IN SINGAPORE

First Generation is among the most famous public art in Singapore
First Generation … celebrating Singapore’s history and the river

By LINDA JAMES | Updated FEBRUARY 10, 2022 | SEE & DO

This article may contain compensated links. Please read the disclaimer for more information.

It has become common for cities to feature public art that both beautifies the space and reflects their culture, history and communities but Singapore has definitely taken this to heart.

It seems as though every time you turn a corner, there’s a public art exhibit. This is especially true in the Marina Bay and Riverside areas and increasingly so in neighbourhoods like Bugis and Little India. Following is a comprehensive list of the most popular public art in Singapore.

Golden Crane

At the centre of the very Neo Art Deco Parkview Square – one of the stunning architectural sites, which also features some of the best public art in Singapore – is a golden crane with its head lifted, pointing towards Mainland China, with its wings in pre-flight mode. The pedestal features a Chinese poem about a mythical, homesick crane looking towards its temple (a place of worship in Hubei, China) and eager to fly the thousands of miles back. The crane is supposed to bring wealth to the building.

Address: 600 North Bridge Rd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: Free
Getting there:  Bugis MRT (EW12/DT14); 3 min walk, Esplanade MRT (CC3), 13 min walk; buses – 100,133,57,61,80
Golden Crane Singapore
The Golden Crane … just one of the many artworks to see at Parkview Plaza

Homage to Newton by Salvador Dali

This 1985 sculpture in Raffles Place pays homage to Newton’s gravity theory. The bronze figure has an open torso with a heart suspended in it to indicate “open-heartedness”. The head of the figure is open to represent an “open-mind”.

Address: UOB Plaza outdoor, Chulia St 
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), 3 min walk; buses – 10,100,57,655,970

Jousting Painters Mural by Ernest Zacharevic

Street artist Ernest Zacharevic, who is Lithuanian and based in Penang, has been dubbed the Malaysian Banksy. He’s gained a huge global following for his interactive street art. This giant mural depicts two very realistic-looking boys prepared for battle on brightly painted horses.

Address: cnr Joo Chiat Tce and Everitt Rd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Eunos MRT (EW7), walk down Jalan Eunos and Still Rd, turn into Joo Chiat Rd and walk to the intersection; buses – 33 from Dakota MRT, stop at stop 82151 

Bird by Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero

This huge bronze sculpture is one of the most recognisable works of art in Singapore. The dove represents peace and serenity. This is the third Bird sculpture, with the other two in Medellin and Florence, Italy. Botero has two others in Singapore – one at the St Regis Hotel entrance and the other near the entrance of Parkview Square.

Address: near United Overseas Bank (UOB) Plaza at Raffles Place.
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), 3 min walk; buses – 10,100,57,655,970

Large Reclining Figure by artist Henry Moore

This 10m sculpture of an abstract human figure has a notch at the head that resembles a widely divided hoof. This meets a narrowed torso with a suspended bosom. The left arm rests on the ground while the right one is connected to a reclining pelvis. From there an extended bone that represents a limb stretches to one side.

Address: outside the OCBC Centre
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), take Exit G, walk for 4 minutes; buses – 530,588,599,970,186 stop B05319, walk for 1 min. 

First Generation by Chong Fah Cheong

I love this bronze sculpture of 5 boys jumping into the Singapore River for its sheer joy. The river has always played an important role in Singapore’s history and this, no doubt, reflects much earlier time when swimming in it was a common pastime.

Address: near the Fullerton Hotel
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), 5 min walk;
buses – 100,131,196,75; Fullerton Jetty 2 min walk, Raffles Place Jetty 3 min walk 

MARINA BAY ART TRAIL

Some of the most famous public art is in the Marina Bay area. The Marina Bay Trail features work from celebrated sculptors and artists such as Han Sai Por and Roy Lichtenstein.

This public art trail also allows you to see a number of other popular tourist attractions along the way such as Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge and the ArtScience Museum. I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s also only a short walk off the trail to the Fullerton Hotel and Raffles Place so you could incorporate a visit to some of the other sculptures.

The trail starts at Suntec City.

Address: cnr Temasek and Raffles Boulevards
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), 6 min walk; buses – 10,591,97,97E

Abundance III by architect-artist Sun Yu-Li

This huge bronze ring in Suntec City has been so cleverly constructed that it appears to be different sizes and shapes from different distances. The circular shape of the ring is meant to be a representation of infinity because there is no beginning and no end.

Address: cnr Temasek and Raffles Boulevards
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), 6 min walk; buses – 10,591,97,97E
Suntec Fountain of Wealth Singapore
Suntec Fountain of Wealth … good luck for many people

Fountain of Wealth

Still in Suntec City, this fountain was listed by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the largest fountain in the world and it’s definitely hard to miss. At regular times throughout the day, the fountain is turned off and visitors can walk around the mini fountain at the centre three times for good luck. There are often laser shows and dedications there 8pm and 9pm.

In Chinese culture, water is a symbol of life and wealth and the inward motion of the water symbolises the retention of wealth for Suntec City. This also represents riches pouring in, according to feng shui experts and hence the name Fountain of Wealth.

The fountain’s bronze ring based on the Hindu Mandala representing the oneness in spirit and unity, symbolising the equality and harmony of all races and religions. The ring has a circumference of 66m, which is supported by four large slanted columns. Suntec City was designed to look like a hand emerging from the ground with the five tower blocks being the fingers and thumb with the fountain as the palm of the hand.

Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk from Temasek Blvd to the roundabout.

Six Brushstrokes by pop artist Roy Lichenstein

The outdoor plaza at Millenia Walk contains six aluminium sculptures, which were the last works of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. The 12m-wide installation infuses Chinese calligraphic traditions and pop art, portraying abstract illusions of nature, seashore and land. The vibrantly coloured pieces have very defined black outlines and are peculiar to Lichtenstein’s masterpieces.

Address: Millenia Walk
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: walk down Temasek Blvd to Millenia Walk shopping centre

Deva by kinetic sculpture artist Lin Emery

This bold, almost sinewy stainless-steel sculpture was inspired by the forces of nature.

Address: Level 2 Pan Pacific, 7 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Cut through Millenia Walk to get to the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel on Raffles Blvd

Continuum II by artist-architect Charles Perry

Inspired by geometry, Perry used eight bronze pieces to create this abstract, twisting sculpture.

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Head to the rooftop walkway of Marina Square Shopping Mall 

Between Sea and Sky by Belgian sculptor Olivier Strebelle

Strebelle, dubbed by the press as the “Belgian Picasso”, created this monumental 6-foot sculpture.

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk to the front of the five-star hotel Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay Singapore

Fleur Marine by French artist Antoine Poncet

In the driveway of the Mandarin Oriental is Fleur Marine (1984). This bronze sculpture sits in the middle of a fountain, creating the illusion of a flower rising from the sea.

Address: 5 Raffles Ave
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk back into Marina Square Shopping Mall and follow the signs to Mandarin Oriental.

Seeds by Han Sai Por

The seed symbolises life and these four granite sculptures symbolise the germination of the arts on fertile ground.

Address: 1 Esplanade Dr
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Cross the street to Esplanade’s outdoor plaza.
Merlion Singapore
The Merlion … the half fish-half lion symbol of Singapore

The Merlion

Singapore’s mascot, the mythical half-lion, half fish Merlion, was built in 1972 and is one of the most popular things to see in in Signapore. The fish body symbolises Singapore’s origins as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name – Singapura – meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”.

The original sculpture in white concrete was designed by Kwan Sai Kheong, sculpted by Lim Nang Seng and commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board. Its smaller sibling, the Merlion cub, sits nearby.

Taking a pic of the Merlion spouting water into your mouth is a fun thing to do if you’re looking for things to do with kids.

Address: One Fullerton
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk across the river using the Esplanade Bridge to get to Merlion Park.

Black Charging Bull by Anna C. Spellini

Outside the Merrill Lynch office is the Black Charging Bull (2008). In the stockmarket, the bull symbolises a bullish (or upward trending) market so this could be symbolic of a positive outlook for Singapore’s economy.

Address: OUE Bayfront Building
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: From Merlion Park, walk through One Fullerton past The Fullerton Bay Hotel and the restored Customs House

Progressive Flow by Han Sai Por

Next door, six blocks of granite, weighing about 55 tonnes, sit at the corner of Marina Boulevard. This is Progressive Flow (2004) by Han Sai Por, who created the waved sculpture so people could sit on the blocks while reflecting on their design.

Address: One Marina Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk to One Marina Blvd

Momentum by David Gerstein

The very last stop on the art trail is a kaleidoscopic pyramid of figures in painted steel holding hands designed to honour the Singaporeans who have helped to turn this city into the vibrant metropolis it has become.

Address: 2 Finlayson Green
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: look across the street to Finlayson Green and Raffles Quay

Conclusion

These are some of the most popular public art in Singapore and make a fascinating walk through the Marina Bay and Riverside areas. The latter also is home to many of the historical sites in Singapore so you can get two for the price of one! From pop art to concrete mascots and bronze sculptures, you’ll be impressed not only by the quality but the fact you can see them all for free! If you’re interested in art, there are also many fantastic galleries, many of which are also free.

Want more of Singapore?

Learn how to plan your Singapore trip
Link to where to eat and drink in Singapore
Link to Singapore area guides