Mural to bring to life Race Course Road heritage
Migrant workers, teachers and students paint community mural to celebrate Race Course Road's heritage
It is easy to miss the littlest artistic details along the bustling Race Course Road.
But walk a little slowly and you will spot a mural painted along the narrow alley between shophouse No. 50 and shophouse No. 48.
Depicting a racing horse cutting through a street market, the mural is aptly titled A Ride through Race Course Road. It spans 20m long, with the highest point touching 8m high.
This community art project is spearheaded by Singaporean artist Jaxton Su Jingxiang, 28, a Master of Fine Art student at The Glasgow School of Art.
Forty three people - 17 migrant workers, one painting assistant, as well as 23 students and two teachers from Raffles Institution - helped him paint during his month-long project back in June.
The project was sponsored by Singapore Turf Club, the National Youth Council (NYC), and Matchbox, a grant platform by the National Arts Council (NAC) for people aged 35 and below.
For almost every day, Mr Su painted his vision of a scene from the past.
He said: "I think many Singaporeans don't know why the road is called Race Course Road, so I hope a mural would help passers-by understand our heritage."
There were horse races, at what is now Farrer Park, from 1842 to 1933.
Trading goods from past to present - Chinese biscuit tins, Indian spices, Indian flowers, rattan products - were included to enhance the street market vibe he wanted to convey.
To paint the mural, Mr Su approached the NAC early this year, receiving advice on the communities to involve.
Some of the migrant workers staying in the shophouse at No. 50 helped him paint on Sundays.
Mr Su said: "Through this project, I got to chat with and understand them better. It was nice hearing that they had enjoyed the experience, and left a mark at the place they work and live in."
Art Club students from Raffles Institution - 13 from Year 1 to 4, and 10 from Year 5 to 6 - and two teachers were also roped in.
Ms Ang Tze Qi, a teacher-mentor, saw it as an opportunity for her students to contribute to the community.
She added: "The opportunity to work with an artist was also a precious one as they could learn what it is like to be a practising artist in Singapore.
"It is definitely encouraging for the students to see that it is possible to pursue their passions here."
Head of Corporate Communications at Singapore Turf Club, Mr Eric Loh, said: "We felt it was a great idea to celebrate the heritage and significance of the area where Singapore Turf Club first had its origin."
An NYC spokesman said that the project was supported by the NYC's Young ChangeMakers (YCM) grant.
YCM fosters leadership development by giving seed funding, support and resources to youths keen on launching their own community projects.
"Youths are also empowered as panellists to assess grants, and as mentors, guiding their peers' projects," the spokesman added.
Mr Su has painted at least nine other community art projects, and at least four other murals.
His latest project, Colours of Little India, features windows with ornaments close to the Indian culture, such as spices and garlands.
- Additional reporting by KIMBERLY LIM
"I think many Singaporeans don't know why the road is called Race Course Road, so I hope a mural would help passers-by understand our heritage. "
- Artist Jaxton Su Jingxiang