The Aliwal Arts Centre is located in the Kampong Glam district of Singapore. It is a multidisciplinary arts centre with a strong focus on supporting artistic development whether this is through performing arts or traditional art groups which draw inspiration from the rich cultural heritage in the neighbourhood. One of the main art exhibits on showcase is the graffiti mural wall which runs the length of the back of their building.
The artwork showcased on this platform is always changing and being renewed to keep the wall available for new inspiration and many artists say it provides a great space to try out new ideas. An artist’s mural might stay up for anywhere from one to six months and could be solitary or work as part of a larger mural made up of several artists. Aliwal Arts Centre’s senior manager of place-making, Natalie Tan says, “How often the graffiti art is renewed is an “organic” process and depends on “artists’ schedules and inspiration.”
RCLCS, a collective of street-art artists, is a prominent resident of the Aliwal Arts Centre and even have their own studio within. The RCLCS have managed to forge a name for themselves in the Singapore Street Art scene. Each artist has managed to implement their individual discipline of choice into the typical hallmarks of street art, such as stencilling, murals, and wheat-paste. What makes them stand out is what they’re spraying and painting and their ability to use any restrictions as a way to inform their work.
The Singapore mural scene is dominated by a large number of works that honour the history and heritage of the people who live in the area. This stems from the local’s love of nostalgia. The Kampong Glam neighbourhood is well known for its Malay and Arab roots which are drawn on for inspiration to create the murals. While the style of each mural might differ within the colour scheme and interpretation the underlying motivations are the same.
Another way to experience the art is through one of the centre’s two annual festivals. The Aliwal Arts Night Crawl takes place in August and is a multidisciplinary event where interactive art exhibits take place. It brings together a mix of traditional and contemporary artists and invites visitors to experience the art with them. The other festival takes place in January and is called the Aliwal Urban Art Festival. This is dedicated to Singapore’s international street culture. While observing the latest graffiti masterpiece, you can rock out to some afro-beat, and watch skateboarders and break dancers show off their skills. It is a part of Singapore’s Art Week so on your way, you can also check out the art in some of the other big art exhibitions across the city.
The Aliwal Arts Centre is a workspace for all disciplines. The goal of the centre is to offer an environment conducive to artistic exploration and development that will assist artists in the creation of their work. It is run by Arts House Limited, a not-for-profit organisation that has multiple properties across the city dedicated to using the arts to enrich the lives of locals and visitors alike. The Centre runs weekly workshops as well as two annual festivals where visitors can get involved.