New artwork for over 40 hawker centres before National Day

SINGAPORE - More than 40 hawker centres across the country are expected to have new wall murals and art installations by July this year, as part of a new initiative launched on Saturday.

Titled Our Hawker Centres - A Heritage and Art Project, the series aims to showcase the history of various areas such as Amoy Street, Tekka Market and Holland Village. Since January, work has been completed at 19 locations.

More than 70 schools, organisations and artists are involved. The designs, conceptualised by these groups and approved by the National Environment Agency and the National Heritage Board, are painted directly onto hawker centre walls and will be left there permanently.

At the project's official launch on Saturday afternoon at Mayflower Market and Food Centre, Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said that the hawker centres' unique culture and heritage must be preserved.

"As our country celebrates its golden jubilee, our hawker centres too have come a long way. From street hawking to the modern-day hawker centres," she said.

"For this, we thank our founding father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who saw it only fitting to prioritise the development of Singapore into a clean, orderly and modern metropolis everyone could be proud of."

Six murals were unveiled at Mayflower hawker centre, done by students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central and Ang Mo Kio Primary School. The ITE students incorporated drawings of tomatoes in their art installation to represent "Ang Mo Kio", which they found out is the Hokkien translation of "tomato".

National Heritage Board chief executive Rosa Daniel said that food exemplifies how heritage is part of daily life. "What we eat reflects who we are and where we come from," she said.

"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."

More than 1,000 litres of premium paint and painting tools worth more than $40,000 were provided by Nippon Paint Singapore.