'This is probably one of my last murals': Artist Yip Yew Chong unveils latest creation as Lau Pa Sat celebrates 130th anniversary

'This is probably one of my last murals': Artist Yip Yew Chong unveils latest creation as Lau Pa Sat celebrates 130th anniversary
Yip Yew Chong (left) and Lee Kow Fong (right) share more about their art pieces during a media event on April 15 to mark Lau Pa Sat's 130th anniversary.
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Melissa Teo

With its iconic clock tower and Victorian-era cast-iron structure, Lau Pa Sat is undoubtedly one of the grandest and most iconic hawker centres in Singapore. 

And this year, the national monument turns 130 years old. 

To celebrate this momentous occasion, local artists Yip Yew Chong and Lee Kow Fong, also known as Ah Guo, agreed to create art pieces done up in their own unique styles. 

Yew Chong did what he does best, painting a stunning 10-metre-long, three-metre-high heritage mural of Lau Pa Sat's evolution over the years. 

This may also be one of the last murals we see from Yew Chong. 

In a media event on April 15 for Lau Pa Sat's anniversary, Yew Chong admitted that he had contemplated not taking up the project. 

"As some of you may know, I want to do fewer murals and focus more on canvas paintings. So this is probably one of my last murals." 

"But I wanted to take this project because it's been 130 years of this building," Yew Chong said, adding that Lau Pa Sat not only has a long history but is also a prestigious national monument.  

The top-left side of the mural features Lau Pa Sat in the 1800s. 

Back then, it was an octagonal-shaped pitch-roofed seaside fish market at the northern end of Telok Ayer Bay. 

At the bottom left of the mural, Yew Chong painted Lau Pa Sat in the 1970s, when it became a bustling hawker centre. 

These images morph seamlessly into the right side of the mural, which depicts the modern, present-day Lau Pa Sat hawker centre surrounded by bright city lights and skyscrapers. 

Similar to his other works, the artist's mural is extremely detailed, which encourages viewers to scrutinise it further. 

Keep your eyes peeled for details like a crab running away to the rooftop and naughty children "fishing" for chicken wings. 

The muralist, who previously worked as an accountant, also shared some of his own memories of Lau Pa Sat during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Back then, his office was at Hong Leong Building. 

"I would always pop down to Lau Pa Sat to makan (eat)," he recounted to the crowd with a smile.

"Sometimes I worked late into the night, past midnight, and it was still open." 

In fact, he patronised one particular fishball noodle stall there so often that the hawker remembered him and would give him extra fishballs. 

Bring home beautiful merchandise designed by Ah Guo

Meanwhile, Ah Guo has launched a three-part water-colour art series with five exclusive merchandise featuring his whimsical depictions of the hawker centre. 

When he was asked to produce artwork for the merchandise, the painter was excited. 

"I learned that it's Lau Pa Sat's 130th anniversary, that is triple my age," he told us with a chuckle. 

The merchandise includes postcards, notebooks, fridge magnets, folders and pouches. 

The first artwork in his series showcases Lau Pa Sat in its early days as a market by the sea, with fishermen fishing in nearby waters and selling their catch of the day at the market alongside street hawkers. 

Keen on getting your hands on Ah Guo's merchandise? From May 1 to July 31, you can collect stamps to redeem the beautiful pieces. 

For every $10 spent at either retail or F&B stores in Lau Pa Sat's Food Folks, you get one stamp. 

Either that or you can purchase them.

Postcards are going for $2.50 per piece while the pouch is $15. 

Lau Pa Sat also unveiled a new 130th anniversary logo that pays homage to its rich history in Singapore's hawker scene, blending imagery of hawker culture with its iconic architecture.

ALSO READ: Self-taught artist Yip Yew Chong acknowledges those who scoff at his techniques and accuracy


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