Singapore is filled with public art. Just wander around and you’ll spot statues and sculptures everywhere, from parks, places of worship, and shopping malls, to alongside the rivers and outside museums. Some are fairly traditional in their design, whilst others have taken a more contemporary approach. Most symbolize something, and some have meanings and messages, whereas others tell stories about Singapore’s past and heritage. There are those of people, some of animals, others of objects, and some that are abstract. Made from diverse materials, including stone and bronze, there is lots of diversity.
Some of the most interesting sculptures and statues around Singapore include:
Sir Stamford Raffles
There are two statues of Singapore’s founding father, Sir Stamford Raffles. Standing proudly on Empress Place, one is cast from bronze. Initially erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 50th year on the throne, it shows Raffles stood looking rather pensive with his arms crossed. The other, showing Reffles in the same pose, is made from white stone and it is located at the place where the famous face from Singapore’s past first entered Singapore, now known as Raffle’s Landing Site.
Mother and Child
Peering down at pasersby from its lofty position, Mother and Child can be found at the end of Orchard Road. It symbolises motherhood and the problems sometimes people face with identity.
There is another Mother and Child statues in Tampines Park.
Erecting in 1987, Joyous Rivers represents the continuous flow of water. Illuminated at night time, this piece celebrates an operation to clean up Singapore’s waterways.
Located at the Gardens by the Bay, Planet is a seemingly-floating white baby. Designed by Marc Quinn, it pays homage to his young son.
The Great Emporium
The Great Emporium shows the importance of the Singapore River for trade and growth in the country. It shows people from different backgrounds and cultures along with the roles that they played in Singapore’s past.
Situated on Tanglin Road, this piece shows a fearless bodhisattva riding a fearsome dragon. It is one of several sculptures designed by Taiwanese-born Li Chen.
A large and eye-catching sculpture, Momentum is a colourful piece that celebrates the diverse people from Singapore that helped the country to grow into a modern, lively, and forward-thinking society. It stands at Finlayson Green.
This prettily-named sculpture can be admired outside the D’Leedon Complex. Large and imaginative, it seems to just float in the spot. It was designed by Nadim Karam.
A striking piece that shows some of Singapore’s heritage, the Chinese Procession is within Telok Ayer Green Park. It shows life-size people walking along and having fun whilst carrying decorative items, like fish, on sticks. It represents the festivals and celebrations of early Chinese immigrants to Singapore.
The same park is also home to a detailed piece of a sampan (a traditional Chinese wooden boat) and the Indian Settlers of Telok Ayer, which symbolises the different trades performed by early Indian immigrants to the nation.
Nutmeg and Mace
Located at ION Orchard, this large and heavy sculpture represents the area’s past as orchards, which gave rise to the present-day name of Orchard Road. It reminds people of Singapore’s agricultural and rural heritage, depicting nutmeg and mace.
Another sculpture outside ION Orchard, the colourful Urban People shows the hustle and bustle of everyday life in modern Singapore.
A sculpture that shows part of Singapore’s past, Street Hawker is of a man selling food, specifically a traditional dish of noodles and fish balls.
Chettiars to Financiers
This detailed sculpture shows early money-lenders who moved to Singapore from southern India. It remembers the heritage of the Tamil ethnic group.
An unusual and, in some opinions, rather creepy statue, this statue of Kate Moss shows a strange version of the supermodel doing something akin to Yoga, with her head down between her legs. The contemporary piece was designed by Marc Quinn.
Another interesting sculpture that shows early life in Singapore, the River Merchants shows coolies and workmen from China and India carrying sacks to a cart whilst a well-known merchant, Alexander Laurie Johnston, speaks with a Malay chief and a Chinese vendor. It shows the multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity of Singapore that has existed for many years.
Celebrating the contributions to Singaporean society, dedication, and hard work by the Samsui Women, ladies who went to Singapore to work in construction and other similar jobs, this stone statue shows a group of the women, complete with their signature hats. You’ll find it at the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
A happy-looking and rather fat bird stands at UOB Plaza. It signifies joy, hope, peace, and happiness.
Others include the towering Tall Girl at Orchard Central Discovery Walk, First Generation, with young boys playing by the river, the Singapura Cats, Seeds, Farmer Toiling at the Field at Chong Pang, the various iconic Merlion statues, Price of Peace, the science-honouring Homage to Newton, the elephant donated by Thailand, and Another Day, which shows two workers taking a break and sitting at a wooden table to eat.