HDB flats get giant art on their facades

Artists and residents join creative forces to adorn the facades of 105 HDB blocks with art installations

Painting on canvas is all in a day's work for an artist, but creating and assembling dozens of panels into a massive work of art of up to 900 sq m is no mean feat.

Some 100 artists and 50,000 residents got together for this year's PAssionArts Festival to adorn the facades of 105 Housing Board blocks with large-format art installations in celebration of the nation's 50th birthday.

Ms Yeoh Wee Hwee, the artist behind the facade at Block 370, Tampines Avenue 7, said it took three days and more than 200 volunteers to paint and install the 36 strips of canvas that were strung together to form the image of a maze.

Volunteers included residents as well as students, staff and alumni of Pasir Ris Secondary School. They were given the opportunity to create the design by choosing their colours to paint with and adding images of things they like most about Singapore, such as food or scenery.

  • ART IN THE HEARTLAND

  • Some 100 artists and 50,000 residents decorated the facades of 105 HDB blocks to celebrate Singapore's Golden Jubilee. Organised by the People's Association, in its largest PAssionArts Festival community project to date, each facade comprises canvas panels painted by volunteers.

    Here is a look at some of the facades, which will be on display until the end of the year.


    BLOCK 531, JELEPANG ROAD

    WHAT: Zhenghua In Harmony depicts landmarks from different eras and the hills of Bukit Panjang.

    CREATED BY: 1,000 Zhenghua residents and students from various schools, and facilitated by visual artists Dieky Dzulkarnaen and Amruthaa.


    BLOCK 374, BUKIT BATOK STREET 31

    WHAT: Project HEARTview features five big red hearts, which symbolise the values of Humility, Love, Peace, Righteousness and Trust. Fifty medium hearts represent 50 years of prosperous nation-building.

    CREATED BY: 600 Bukit Gombak residents, and students from Hillgrove Secondary School and Lian Hua Primary School, who were all facilitated by visual artist Sun Yu Li.


    BLOCK 359, YUNG AN ROAD

    WHAT: Ride The Rainbow has paper planes flying above a rainbow and represents Singaporeans' wish to continue soaring to greater heights.

    CREATED BY: 200 Taman Jurong residents and facilitated by visual artist Tay Swee Siong.


    BLOCK 58, MARINE TERRACE

    WHAT: Icons @ Heartland showcases Singapore icons that residents hold dear to their hearts.

    CREATED BY: 200 Marine Parade residents and art group members from the Marine Parade Community Club, who were facilitated by visual artist Muhammed Faizal.


    BLOCK 838, YISHUN STREET 81

    WHAT: Stories Of Yishun features a heliconia flower, which signifies the life and spirit of Yishun, and the Sunbird, which represents freedom and goals.

    CREATED BY: 2,000 Nee Soon South residents and students from Orchid Park Secondary School, who were facilitated by visual artist Tan Haur.


    BLOCK 728, TAMPINES AVENUE 5

    WHAT: Game-On is a video game design that incorporates Tampines icons to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

    CREATED BY: 800 Tampines Central residents and students from Temasek Polytechnic (School of Game Design & Development) and Poi Ching School, who were facilitated by visual artist Esther Ng.


    BLOCK 45, BENDEMEER ROAD

    WHAT: Sunsets In Singapore features Singapore icons and scenes from daily life.

    CREATED BY: 1,200 Kolam Ayer residents and pupils from Bendemeer Primary School, who were facilitated by visual artist Patrick Yee.

Ms Yeoh, 37, said the inspiration behind the design, titled AMAZEing Life, came from her thoughts on "how the journey of life is like a maze - we don't know where every turn will take us". She added: "But ultimately, we hopefully return to a place we call home."

The biggest challenge, she said, was scaling her design to fit the 6.5m by 1.5m canvas pieces together over six storeys.

Artist Muhammed Faizal, whose facade at Block 58, Marine Terrace, features icons such as the Singapore Flyer and Merlion, said the building's structure presented unique challenges.

"There are gaps in between corridors, so you have to adjust everything to avoid them or you'll end up with one eye missing or misaligned," he said. The 28-year-old, who has participated in four other PAssionArts projects, enlisted the help of 200 Marine Parade residents over two days. Some were as young as five.

"There was even a family of tourists from India who walked by and saw what we were doing, and they helped to paint for about an hour before they flew back later that night," he said.

Madam Elizabeth Ng, chairman of the Marine Parade Community Centre's Community Arts and Culture Club, rallied residents to participate and helped to oversee the painting sessions.

"Getting people to do what you want them to was a challenge, especially with the kids," said Ms Ng, 58, a Marine Parade resident.

She said the effort was "backbreaking, but rewarding".

"The residents are proud of their work. They will stand at the traffic lights to take photos, and show their work off to residents of other blocks," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'BIG DRAWS'. Print Edition | Subscribe