Mural painter S’porean takes 2 weeks to paint 2m of ambitious 50m room showing busy 1970s Kreta Ayer – Mothership.SG

Yip Yew Chong, 52, a Singaporean mural painter, began work on his latest ambitious project: a 50m acrylic painting depicting Kreta Ayer in the 1970s.

He shared a snippet of his progress on the job in a Facebook Publish August 7.

According to Yip, he created around 2m of the painting over the past two weeks, which was a result of his work on the project in addition to his work commitments.

Yip also pointed out that the painting is not an accurate representation of Singapore’s Chinatown in the past, but only a representation as it does not feature any real streets in Kreta Ayer.

Acrylic paint

Yip also said the painting would be “busy without a single focal point.”

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

This will allow the viewer to “browse” every corner of the painting to discover its details.

Some scenes in the painting depict various street food, the way people lived in shops and an opera house.

Here’s a closer look at the painting:

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Part of the painting shows the interior of a three-story store in Chinatown.

The ground floor represents a café, while the second and third floors provide an overview of the condition of the residences.

Several coolie families or tenants live there.

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

In the streets below, street vendors, including a bird’s nest drink stand, an ice cream stand, a roasted chestnut stand and a kacang putih stall populate public spaces.

It also features people watching an opera performance.

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Photo via Yip Yew Chong

Took two weeks to complete a game

The acrylic painting is the first of 23 panels that will eventually form a continuous 50m long landscape, with streets, hills, seas and occasional glimpses inside buildings.

The first panel lasted two weeks, Yip said.

The entire painting will present everyday life in various parts of Singapore in the 1970s and 1980s.

Yip said in his Facebook post that he believes “Singapore has most visibly transformed from a city of villages to a modern city of tall buildings in the past two decades.”

To be completed by August 2022

Talk to Mothership.sg, Yip said he plans to complete the 50m artwork by National Day 2022.

He also revealed that he has a broad plan for the artwork in his head, although the details are decided as he paints or finds more interesting subjects.

He didn’t think about where the final art will be set up.

Yip said, “No idea at this early stage. Try to substantially complete it first. If it’s beautiful enough, you’ll find a place to display it in its entirety.”

“Afterwards, I’ll try to keep some and sell some pieces. Each panel can be enjoyed individually, but when put together seamlessly, the entire 50m makes an even nicer painting.”

Uncommanded work, done at your own pace

Yip also said the artwork is not being commissioned.

“I like to create my own work with freedom and discretion,” he added.

The veteran artist also said the process will be subject to comment and will benefit from the exhibition when it is progressively presented to the public.

Yip said: “It’s not just the painting, the creative journey, the way the audience follows and gives feedback as I exhibit the pieces (not in order though), will be an interesting journey. “

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Best photos via Yip Yew Chong


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