Spot landmarks, cartoon cat Pusheen and Kallang satay stall in National Day mural

The larger-than-life mural is displayed outside the Float @ Marina Bay during the National Day period. PHOTO: LEE XIN LI

SINGAPORE - Familiar landmarks, pop culture references like cartoon cat Pusheen, and even a beloved satay stall in Kallang have pride of place in a map of Singapore by Lee Xin Li, chief illustrator for this year's National Day Parade.

Adapted from the 33-year-old artist's installation In Our Time at Singapore Art Museum in 2018, the larger-than-life mural is displayed outside the Float @ Marina Bay during the National Day period.

Sections of the map can also be spotted in some MRT trains and stations around Singapore.

On Tuesday (Aug 17), Mr Lee told The Straits Times that the work, which showcases the multiple layers of Singapore, has been updated to include notable incidents over the past two years.

These include the discovery of two shipwrecks near Pedra Branca, recreation centres for migrant workers and the appearance of a mandarin duck in Hougang.

The piece has something for everyone and sparks cultural exchanges between people who live in different neighbourhoods in Singapore, Mr Lee said.

He has observed old folks sharing about their days in the kampung with their grandchildren and children pointing out pop culture references such as American sitcom characters Rick and Morty to their parents.

He added: "It showcases Singapore, that despite being a tiny red dot, it has so many things going on within it and also many things that resonate with Singaporeans."

For Mr Lee, a satay stall in Old Airport Road he used to patronise holds a special place in his heart.

Lee Xin Li is the chief illustrator for this year's National Day Parade. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

He said: "Now that I know it has closed for good (because the stall owner suffered a stroke), I'm a bit sad but it's in the map as a form of documentation, as a mark of that time... Some of us will find this sad part of this map because we will know of someone who is affected by the pandemic or recognise things that are no longer around."

The award-winning illustrator, who is also known as Pok Pok and Away, hopes that the spotlight on local artists at this year's parade will give hope to an industry hard hit by Covid-19 and inspire many to create.

This year's National Day Parade features the work of local animators in the show segment as well as music and lyric videos, with three animation studios and one artist brought on board.

He said: "The National Day Parade offers an audience beyond the usual sphere, with people from different generations and expats... It's a very varied and wide audience which is very meaningful for people in the creative field to have their works showcased on this platform".

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