Students create murals to boost awareness of hawker heritage
For three days last month, 306 students from Lasalle College of the Arts descended on three hawkers centres and proceeded to paint murals on the walls.
Thankfully, they won’t have to worry about being hauled up by the authorities for defacing public property.
The school was just one of over 70 organisations participating in “Our Hawker Centres – A Heritage & Art Project”, where students and artists create murals and art installations in more than 40 hawker centres.
Jointly organised by National Environment Agency (NEA) and National Heritage Board (NHB), the project aims to raise awareness on the heritage of hawker centres and their locations.
Over 1,000 litres of paint and painting tools worth more than $40,000 were provided to the students by Nippon Paint Singapore, .
Second Minister for the Environmental and Water Resources, Ms Grace Fu, launched the initiative today at the Mayflower Market and Food Centre.
Minister Fu said:
“As we celebrate SG50, we reflect on our nation’s journey towards a common identity. Our hawker food culture is uniquely Singapore. Our hawker centres are an essential social infrastructure – they provide a clean and hygienic environment for our hawkers to ply their trade and enable Singaporeans access to good food at affordable prices.
"Through art, we are able to celebrate our hawker centres and present our stories regardless what language one uses. This allows us to reach out to people from different walks of life, bringing the community together to appreciate the shared heritage of our hawker centres, and to foster a sense of ownership by all.”
For the Laselle students, Tekka, Albert and Berseh hawker centres became their canvases.
Of the 306 Lasalle students who submitted proposals, only 18 of them had their mural designs selected for three different hawker centres.
Mr Rashid Gapur, 47, a lecturer at Lasalle, explained that the final selection was based on how well the artists captured the specifics of local tastes. Their works at the graded curriculum for all first year Diploma Course in Visual Art..
One budding artist whose design was selected over his peers is Mr Shaiful Hardy, 22, who aspires to be a designer.
His mural, titled “Which Market”, is located on a wall beside the staircase.
The work is infused with a local vibe, where “fast paced” legs make their way up the stairs alongside captions such as “Kosong Satu” and “Teh Peng”.
Mr Shaiful was inspired by the colour scheme of the buildings in Little India, and deliberately incorporated colours like purple into his mural.
When asked why he chose an obscure location to paint his mural, he said: “people normally climb stairs without bothering to look around, but by adding something colourful, they might stop and see.”
For foreigners unfamiliar with the local nuances contained within the painting, he expressed hope that they would ask the people around them and thus learn about Singapore’s culture.
Miss Yara Al Ammadi, 18, the artist behind “Moo...”, a giant mural featuring a cow at Tekka Market’s entrance, shares his enthusiasm.
“Art is a form of expressing yourself, a creative way of communicating to the public. I want people to pass by, stop, and ask ‘what’s that?’”
Mr Eugene Lee, 30, lecturer of visual studies at Lasalle said that he was glad the students could be a part of the project.
“Art is inclusive - this is us putting actions into words and giving back to the community,” he added.
CEO for the National Heritage Board, Mrs Rosa Daniel, said:
“Food is an excellent example of how heritage is part of our everyday lives. What we eat reflects who we are and where we come from. In Singapore, our ubiquitous hawker centre has always been a favourite haunt for families and friends to gather and enjoy the diversity and richness of our food heritage.
These art murals on Singapore’s food and culture in the hawker centres are a visually attractive and impactful way of reminding us all of the connection between food and our shared heritage”.