This piece depicts Singapore in the 1960s after her failed merger with Malaysia, and how the leaders and pioneers of the small nation-state had to pull the collective will of the country together despite limited resources as well as internal and external threats.
Various ethnicities as well as professions like Samsui women, construction workers, coolies, white collar workers and others are depicted shouldering the burdens of the tumultuous 1960s, with some of the 'Old Guard' of Singapore's leadership steering the efforts.
Drawn specifically for Singapore's 50th birthday, the artwork takes a slightly different vein with regard to the idea of celebration by peering into the past, instead of the future. After all, without the people of the past, there would be no Singaporeans of the future.
Etched on our Hearts by Joanne Lim, The Letter J Supply
From young we've always been taught to recite the pledge off large, typed words projected onto a screen. Over the years we started to remember it by heart – almost mechanically.
For this piece I wanted to show audiences that the pledge is not the work of a machine. A man, one of the founding fathers of Singapore, imparted his heart, his hopes and his dreams for this brand new country as he wrote these handwritten words. Over the years he would have felt both jubilation and exhaustion from watching Singapore mature into what she is today.
I think it is important to remember that.
With My Life by: Ee Shaun
The artwork depicts newly conscripted recruits reciting the SAF pledge in unison, a symbolic moment for all full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) dedicating themselves to protect the honour and independence of Singapore with their lives.
As a recruit some 16 years ago, I have fond memories of reciting the pledge at numerous ceremonies, ending with the all-too-familiar phrase 'with our lives!' – always yelled out, not unlike some terrifying war cry. Unlike the pixelated fatigues that the SAF adopts today, the recruits here are wearing the decommissioned army uniform, the same one I wore throughout 13 years of NS service – as a tribute to all the NS men in my generation.
Orchid Tender By: Joseph Chiang, Monster Gallery
The idea came from vintage screen-printed posters of the nineteen sixties and giving it a 'playful' propaganda-style poster look, with the words "since nineteen sixty-seven" at the bottom – the year the Singapore Dollar was introduced – in bold.
A close-up of the orchid motif found on the first generation of $1 dollar notes is used as the main visual, while the orchid motifs from other denominations are put at the remaining three corners to give the piece a coherent look.
Jalan Fruity By: Astralrae
Many of the buildings that were in Orchard Road during the 1970s have been demolished. Some of them, like Tang Plaza, Lido, and Cold Storage still exist, but they are so different from what they were back then.
I wanted to draw out these iconic buildings along Orchard Road as they were during the 1970s, but I also wanted to add something whimsical into the picture.
I thought about how Orchard Road was lined with many fruit trees, spice and pepper farms in the 1800s. It is said that Orchard Road also got its name from the Nutmeg plantations that populated the area. I thought this was a good way to remind audiences about Orchard Road's past.
That’s when the idea of ‘shopping fruits’ popped in my head— little fruits shopping, hanging with fruity friends around the buildings. I drew different types of fruits, even those not grown in Singapore, to reflect Orchard Road's cosmopolitan nature.
First of Its Kind By: Black Mongrels
Though we are used to new hotels popping up and winding down in this day and age, we must keep in mind that it was very different in the past. As the first hotel on Orchard Road, the establishment of the Meritus Mandarin Hotel must have been quite a great occasion to Singaporeans then.
I wanted to bring out this atmosphere by using vibrant colours to signify the celebratory nature of this, as well as to communicate the glamour and glitz of the 1970s.
The Unveiling By: Aurrey
Since the milestone given to me was the unveiling of the Merlion, the most important elements in the illustration are the Merlion and the first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Unbeknownst to many, Mr Lee was actually the one who unveiled the Merlion to the world.
I chose to do a comic-book style for two main reasons. Firstly, comics are a great way to tell a story, and I felt that the wonder experienced by the citizens during the unveiling of the Merlion would best come through in this format. Secondly, being very partial to comic illustrations myself, I felt that it would be the most entertaining and true-to-self method to portray my impression of the unveiling.
Parade of Dreams & Culture By: Tanky
The Chingay parade started out as a Chinese celebration, intended to replicate the festive chaos that was created by recently-banned firecrackers.
The evolution of the parade throughout the years is reflected from the bottom to top of a larger-than-life parade float, synonymous with the Chingay Parade.
In 1973, the Singapore River was still very much bustling with trade, as highlighted by the bumboat acting as the base of the float. The characters begin distinctly Chinese, before spiralling upwards and showing traits of Singapore's multiculturalism. Almost entirely drawn from actual elements that appeared in Chingay parades across the years, the scale of the characters and elements are varied to create greater rhythm.
The entire festive frenzy culminates in the ox singing onstage – a salient nod to the very first parade, held in the Year of the Ox.
The Stadium, The Legend By: Natalie Kwee
The original National Stadium was built to bring a variety of people together under one roof. Throughout its lifespan, it hosted a multitude of activities including 18 National Day Parades, an annual event that evolved to become synonymous with the structure itself. The illustration depicts the vibrancy and energy of the parades; a celebration of the Stadium's ability to unite people from all walks of life.
Small surprises like iconic architectural details and park benches made from the Stadium's old seating planks are scattered throughout the illustration, so step a little closer to discover other nostalgic reminders that have found their way into the frame!
While the original Stadium no longer exists in its physical form, its legacy will be kept alive in the memories of all Singaporeans... A permanent reminder of how far we've come, and an inspiration for a greater future ahead.
Blast to the Plaz By: Joycelyn Wong, Mslatenightjam
I did not have the honour of witnessing the opening of the first Plaza Singapura, mainly because I was not born yet. However, my parents told me that when it first opened, it was definitely the place to be – many secondary school students would gather and hang out.
My fondest memories of the place is as a young girl in the 80s, wandering around iconic sculptures by artist Ng Eng Teng, visiting stores and outlets like McDonald’s, Ponderosa, Yamaha and Yaohan.
I enjoyed each weekend spent with my family. I would walk around exploring the corridors of this mall as if it were some giant labyrinth. There was a shop for everyone – and this, undoubtedly, was my favourite shopping location.
Through this artwork, I hope that people of this generation could be transported into the past, and return with a memory of what Singapore's largest mall used to look like 40 years ago.
Habitat By: Minqi Li, Twisstii
The majority of Singaporeans reside in flats built by the HDB. As a result, they have become an ubiquitous and recognisable element of the skyline of Singapore.
Despite staying within close proximity to one another, interaction with neighbours has been largely reduced since the 70s, or 80s – perhaps due to the advent of technology. My interpretation on housing and multiculturalism pays tribute to the kampung spirit in the good old days, where neighbours often shared conversations over nice cups of tea.
I hope this is something that Singaporeans can re-explore in the future.
Bloom By: Sun Lee Siew Loo
The majority of the flowers depicted in this artwork are our national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid.
Each flower represents people from each decade who have contributed unreservedly in building up the country. The choice of blue that appears in the background represents the pioneers who overcame great odds to lay the strong foundation underpinning our success today.
To celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence, these flowers are gathered together as one people. We have had an outstanding past and while we pride ourselves on our success, the future brings even brighter opportunities.
As we approach our jubilee year, let us pledge as one people, one nation, to create a better and more prosperous Singapore.
From Changi With Love By: Mary Bernadette Lee, Mrydette
I have chosen to put together a tapestry of various iconic infrastructures from Changi Airport circa 1981. These are easily recognisable by those who have spent weekends and public holidays trawling the place back in the 80s with our parents.
The artwork is separated into three separate tiers. The top tier depicts the exterior, which comprises SIA airbuses, skytrains, internal bus terminal services, Changi Tower, flags and air flight controllers.
The middle tier takes us inside the airport where flora and art is aplenty – a familiar sight to Singaporeans returning home.
Finally, the third tier represents the people of Changi Airport. They are service staff, flight crew and tourists. Altogether, the various elements presented in the artwork present themselves as an 'ecosystem' that has thrived and improved over the years.
Shophouse City by: Kaiyee Tay
I've always found shophouses quaint and charming – precious structures from another era that stood in stark contrast to our office buildings and towering cranes. To me, they are a nice reminder that even though we've come so far, Singaporeans still value our humble beginnings.
In my artwork, I attempted to capture a moment where both the old and new collide, something that is happening more and more in our ever-changing Singapore. As we look to the future, I hope that we will always have these colourful shophouses and orange-tiled roofs to remind us of our colourful past.
Tracing our Tracks by: ONO Creates
We pay tribute to the huge pillar of our transport system – the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) – through this illustration. Launched in 1987, it has come a long way in complementing our extensive bus services, bringing convenience to commuters.
This piece documents the visual cues of a train journey, from entering the gantries at the bottom, to the platforms in the middle, and finally the much taken-for-granted ride through the heartlands.
We encourage you to take some time to appreciate the beauty found in the minimalistic details of our comprehensive train system, where the thoughtful design of every nook and cranny often escapes the eye of the preoccupied commuter.
Silver Screen Jubilee by: Mas Shafreen, Wanton Doodle
The magic of the silver screen has captivated many Singaporeans. There is no doubt in my mind that no cinema is more iconic than Lido on Orchard Road. It is especially memorable for me because it was the first cinema I went to with my friends.
It was here where I caught movie classics like Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1997), and Jurassic Park (1993).
I wanted to capture the myriad of emotions a movie experience promises. It shows how this seemingly utilitarian structure actually promises excitement, adventure and fantasy, all waiting to burst out and engulf you once the light dims.
Spree by: Herman Yap, Heage
I took a direct approach to creating this piece, but also threw in a few hidden references to Singapore's past. At first glance, this artwork is just two girls enjoying their shopping with Orchard Road's iconic malls as a backdrop.
However, upon closer inspection, you will notice that they're wearing Dr. Martens, jumpers and pleated checkered shirts. This is a nod to the fashion trends in 1994, when the Great Singapore Sale was first launched. The sunny blue skies and bunting reflect an Orchard Road that most of us are familiar with – energetic and celebratory.
Taking Root by: Adeline Tan, Mightyellow
Singapore went from being a ‘Garden City’ to a ‘City in a Garden’. I really wanted to show that despite sounding somewhat similar, they are indeed vastly different.
This piece is foliage pattern made up of various plants and animals found in our parks, gardens and at the side of our roads. In the centre is the Aranda Lee Kuan Yew, a flower named after the pioneer whose vision is the greening of the city.
Woven into the design are elements of urban life and community spirit, things like water pipes, car tyres, seat buckles and belts, USB cables and joined human hands. Also in the picture are architectural landmarks such as the Helix Bridge, Changi Airport and our Art Science Museum – see if you can find them!
World of Waterlets by: Candice Phang, Puffingmuffin
his piece is a whimsical representation of the four National Taps of Singapore, which comprises the local catchment water, imported water, NEWater (highly-purified reclaimed water) and desalinated water. The main focus of this piece is the completion of our 3rd National Tap, NEWater, which is highly acclaimed and an important pillar of Singapore's water sustainability.
The water-people featured here are known as Waterlets, and are led by their great leader, Merliolet, who sprouts water from its mouth at all times to give life to the Waterlets.
In this world, the imported water is represented by parachuting Waterlets, local catchment water by the Merliolet, desalinated water by the Waterlets swimming in the sea, and finally, NEWater by the showering Waterlets.
ROAR by: Momorobo
Each year when I'm in town during the F1 races, the atmosphere never fails to excite me. The F1 cars, decked out in logos and icons roar down our usually tame roads. In addition, the numerous events that happen concurrently make the whole affair a very loud and uproarious one.
I decided to show this in my artwork. The bright, dazzling colours reflect the vibrancy of the F1 race, and a Merlion is depicted roaring majestically – hot on the heels of a F1 car as it fervently makes its way to the finish line.
Shine Like You MeanIt by: Nur Aida Sa’ad, Yellow Mushmellow
Singaporeans often work so hard in the city that they don't get to appreciate how beautiful it is, especially at night when the lights come on. I have seen many skylines in the world, and I can safely say that Singapore's is one of my favourite.”
In this piece, crescent moon and stars are joined by a spectacular display of lights to bring magic and life to Singapore's Central Business District each night, not unlike a warm and dazzling celebratory grin after a hard day's work.
A Far Cry From Pedestrian by: Studio Ensemble
This illustration aims to capture the unique and lively environment of Orchard Road that we've come to know – modern, exciting, and bustling with activity.
We wanted to portray more than just one-off events held on Orchard Road. To show the vibrancy of the everyday life in the precinct, we drew inspiration from its mobile ice cream carts, perpetually-packed streets, iconic buildings, and the always-impressive light displays during festive seasons.
The human element also plays a big part in this piece. Shown outside of the malls, the crowd is exploring this famous street. It is a diverse group made up of people from all walks of life. They are the focus of this composition, through all the liveliness and character that they bring to the scene.
After all, Orchard Road's plethora of patrons is one of the reasons why it is so attractive.
The Happy Little Red Dot by: Wu Ziqi
This piece is a potpourri of things that have made (and still do) Singapore what she is today.
Here’s something for Singaporeans: look for our numerous and famous icons: Singa the Courtesy Lion, the discontinued Great Singapore Duck Race, the Dragon Playground, Teamy the productivity bee, and a few others you might recall from your childhood.
Of course, I haven’t forgotten how much Singaporeans love their food, that’s why I’ve included our favourite eats such as Chill Crab and durian.
Finally, though Singapore’s people have undeniably made many achievements, we can’t forget about our animal friends too. That’s why I’ve drawn in our beloved animals from the Singapore Zoo. See if you can spot our dearly departed Ah Meng, who left us in 2008.
To Singapore, and Beyond by: BLACK
In the near future, we envision Singapore to be a high-technology metropolis where we've perfected self-sufficiency.
We imagine the city encased in an air-conditioned dome, powered by solar energy. For us who are always in pursuit of adventure and new experiences, perhaps our beloved little red dot could be a travelling island of sorts, conducting underwater explorations and aerial expeditions in unknown territories – not unlike the pioneers of the past.
With this “floating island” technology, we can 'upsize' our island, finally rid ourselves of space constraints, and allow each and all of us our ideal homes.
Finally, we envision our SG100 celebrations to be one commemorated in space – with a perfect moon landing.