Painting a bright picture of Singapore-Australia relations

The Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove (right), and Singapore's Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran putting the finishing touches to a mural at Block 728, Clementi West Street 2, It was painted by 31-year-old professional s
The Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove (right), and Singapore's Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran putting the finishing touches to a mural at Block 728, Clementi West Street 2, It was painted by 31-year-old professional street artist Matt Adnate, who is standing between them in the photo.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Singapore's Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran yesterday put the finishing touches to a mural at an HDB block in Clementi West, wrapping up a series of events launched by Australia to celebrate the two countries' 50-year relationship as well as SG50.

The mural on a wall at Block 728, Clementi West Street 2 was the grand finale of the "50 Bridges" programme, a series of arts and community engagement events presented by Australia to Singapore, beginning earlier this year.

Called "Light", the mural features an iconic Australian landscape painted by 31-year-old professional street artist Matt Adnate. It is part of the "50 Walls" project that saw Australian street artists painting walls in hawker centres, Housing Board blocks and schools in heartland locations.

Yesterday's wall painting coincided with the four-day state visit of the Australian Governor-General, which began on Monday.

AUSSIE FEEL IN SINGAPORE

It enlivens our HDB heartland landscape in a very Australian way because it depicts a typical Australian scene in the outback, so I think it brings a bit of Australia into Singapore.

MR S. ISWARAN, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, on the mural which features the Australian landscape

After brushing in the final strokes that completed the mural, Sir Peter thanked Singapore for the warm hospitality he received during his visit and the artist for his work, saying it "symbolises Australia's regard for the people of Singapore". "Australia and Singapore are forming a wonderful partnership in the region," he added.

Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and an MP for West Coast GRC where Block 728 is located, thanked Sir Peter for presenting Singapore with the mural and for the "50 Bridges" initiative. Of the mural, he said: "It enlivens our HDB heartland landscape in a very Australian way because it depicts a typical Australian scene in the outback, so I think it brings a bit of Australia into Singapore." He also praised the close ties between both countries. "I think this particular initiative which brings a bit of Australia into the heartland of Singapore will go a long way towards deepening the people-to-people ties between our two countries," he said.

Along with the 50 Walls project, Australia has held two other events under the "50 Bridges" banner. These were 50 performances by Australian theatre companies across Singapore and 50 barbecues islandwide where 10,000 steaks were given out to Singaporeans. It also gifted the loan of four koalas to the Singapore Zoo in April.

Earlier yesterday, Sir Peter visited the Botanic Gardens where an orchid, the Denbrobium Peter Lynne Cosgrove, was named after him and his wife Lynne. He leaves Singapore today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Painting a bright picture of Singapore-Australia relations'. Print Edition | Subscribe