Space for street art along Rail Corridor

Melissa Chong Channel NewsAsia 23 Dec 13;

SINGAPORE: Singapore's street artists will soon have a new space to practise their craft -- next year, an underpass along the Rail Corridor will be reserved for street art.

The underpass will join existing areas allocated for such purposes at *SCAPE and at the National Youth Council premises.

The area along the Rail Corridor is currently a recreational space, popular with joggers and cyclists.

But in 2014, park users can expect a touch of creative vibrancy at the underpass located near Buona Vista MRT station at the junction of Commonwealth Avenue and North Buona Vista Road.

Graffiti art has always been a common sight there, but authorities usually remove the work as soon as it appears, and this is set to change.

The two walls beneath the bridge will soon become a canvas for local street artists -- one of the few spaces in Singapore for them to showcase their work and practise their craft.

It will be curated by RSCLS, a local art collective which promotes street art.

Zul Othman, street artist and founder of RSCLS, said: “There are not really much spaces if you consider the number of artists that we have, maybe about 100 or more.

“Especially being in a country like Singapore, where there is a lot of restriction and red tape here and there.

“The core matter for RSCLS is giving more space for people to paint. It is something that you cannot do on a canvas -- I mean you can use spray paints on a canvas -- but the feel, the scale of it is different."

RSCLS hopes to invite both local and international street artists to use the space, and even hold 'art jamming' sessions for different artists to collaborate on larger pieces.

Discussions are also underway to hold an international graffiti event called "Meeting With Styles" in Singapore -- a first for the country.

Tan See Nin, senior director, Physical Planning at Urban Redevelopment Authority, said: “The Rail Corridor today is a recreational space, you have people walking, jogging, cycling, down the rail corridor. And they enjoy the green spaces along the way.

“But I think the green corridor can be more than just a green space. It can also be a community space. And certainly having artists in the underpass along the viaduct is very interesting, because it creates an art space that doesn't exist today, and hopefully over time, more people can participate in such activities along the Rail Corridor."

The interim art space will only last for a year, but more activities could be planned if the project is successful.

- CNA/fa/nd

New space for street artists along Rail Corridor
Tiara Hamarian Today Online 24 Dec 13;

SINGAPORE — Street artists will have a new and, possibly, largest space yet to showcase their works: The walls underneath the Commonwealth Avenue viaduct, which is along the Rail Corridor.

The two 40m by 5m walls beneath the viaduct, which street artists can use to hone their skills for one year — starting in January — are much larger than other existing spaces, such as the 30m by 2m space at the National Youth Council or the 9m by 2m panels at Somerset Skate Park.

Urban art collective RSCLS will be curating the space. Its founder Zul Othman, who goes by the moniker Zero, hailed it as a “great move ... especially for younger artists who are just starting out and are looking for space to practise their art”.

“They might not have contacts or even know the areas where they can do their graffiti, so providing this space will help them develop their skills,” the 34-year-old said.

The idea behind setting aside this space, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), is to “inject more vibrancy and community involvement into the Rail Corridor and provide a unique experience for users of this public space”.

Involving the community in enlivening public spaces through good design and programmes was one of the initiatives the URA launched in its Draft Master Plan 2013 released last month.

Said URA Senior Director for Physical Planning Tan See Nin: “The Rail Corridor is currently a recreational space with many people strolling, jogging and cycling along the trail and enjoying the green landscapes along the way. We would like the Rail Corridor to be a place for shared experiences and community bonding as well.”

Agreeing, Mr Zul said there will be more opportunities for street artists using the new space to interact with those who frequent the Rail Corridor. To raise awareness among the public about street art, RSCLS will also organise activities such as a street art jam.

National Arts Council Director of Arts and Youth Kenneth Kwok noted that street artists and their work “are an exciting part of Singapore’s diverse and vibrant arts scene”.

By providing street artists with such dedicated art spaces, it is hoped that they can express themselves and practise their craft, he added. “This is critical to the development of the Singapore street art scene, which the council will continue to support through grants, spaces and public engagement about the value of street art.”

The Rail Corridor has been the venue for several community events, such as mass runs and carnivals, so far. Last year, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was converted to host a fashion event by Female and Nuyou magazines. The second edition of the Green Corridor Run, scheduled to be held in May next year, will start at the railway station.