Singapore may be a concrete jungle, but as the murals on the streets and charming heritage buildings show us in the recent years, you can find beautiful art almost everywhere in the city. Even our humble HDB flats have been catching our eye more and more lately, boasting all sorts of creative designs from pop art to Medieval-style architecture.
Sometimes a pop of colour is all you need to brighten a place up. Seven HDB flats in the Teck Whye Avenue at Choa Chu Kang estate received an colourful new coat of paint a few years ago. The HDB flats at Teck Whye Ave ditched their old do – bright vibrant colour scheme with teal accents – for eye-catching designs inspired by the famous paintings themed “Composition with Red Blue and Yellow” by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Last year, the facade of several HDB flats in Circuit Road at MacPherson Estate have also been painted to the designs inspired by Piet Mondrian.
Piet Mondrian was a 20th-century abstract painter from the Netherlands who is regarded as one of the greatest artists of his generation. Also known as one of the pioneers of abstract art, he was a firm believer of basic forms of beauty and hence discarded “non-essentials” in his work. “Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow” is a product of the Dutch De Stijl (The Style) movement. Many attribute Mondrian for bringing popularity to this rather obscure style.
The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life — Piet Mondrian
Reopening of Singapore Haw Par Villa With A New Hell's Museum & Ten Courts of Hell 狮城虎豹别墅著名十殿阎罗和新地狱博物馆
Apart from visiting the Singapore Zoo and the Jurong Bird Park when I was a child, my parents enjoyed bringing my brothers and I to educational places such as the Science Centre and Haw Par Villa theme park too. My late grandmother used to tell me many stories about Chinese myths and legends, so I’m very familiar with stories of Sun Wukong the Monkey King, Chang’e and The Jade Rabbit, and the legend of the White Snake, just to name a few. I have not visited Haw Par Villa located at Pasir Panjang Road for more than two decades. To my surprise, I found it very interesting to rediscover this quirky place as an adult. The Ten Courts of Hell was recently re-opened on 28 October 2021 being fully air-conditioned and it is part of a new attraction called Hell's Museum.
Previously known as the Tiger Balm Garden, this cultural theme park is the last of its kind in the world. Built by the late Aw Boon Haw, the millionaire philanthropist who gifted the world Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is Singapore’s largest outdoor art gallery. This eclectic park which houses more than 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism, is a treasure trove of Asian culture, history, philosophy and religion.