Panorama artist gets taste of Singapore

British architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire, known for his immense panoramic drawings of world cities, arrived in Singapore this week.

He began his week-long maiden visit with a tour yesterday of historical sites in Chinatown, as well as the skyscrapers of the financial district.

"It's a nice city, it's very historic," he said. "But I like the tall buildings best."

The 40-year-old - who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and travels with his older sister, Annette - will be drawing a 4m-long panorama of the city from memory.

He will do so at the main atrium of Paragon from tomorrow to Sunday, as part of a Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) 30th anniversary celebration event called See The Big Picture.

On his tour, Mr Wiltshire tried durian - which he did not like - chicken noodles and ice kacang, and took some photographs of buildings and sights that he liked.

"The walking tour helps me to understand the city," he said.

Today, he will get a bird's eye view of the skyline on a helicopter ride sponsored by the Republic of Singapore Air Force in preparation for his drawing.

The work of art will be presented formally by SPH to President Tony Tan Keng Yam in September, as a gift to Singapore for the nation's 50th birthday next year.

Ms Wiltshire, 42, a jewellery designer, said they are enjoying their visit so far.

"Sometimes, you can visit places and you feel like you're an outcast," she said. "Singapore is very international, so you fit in and you feel comfortable."

A spokesman for the Singapore Tourism Board, which helped to plan Mr Wiltshire's tour, said the agency hopes that he will take home great memories of his trip here to share with his family, friends and fans.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.