Stories behind two iconic sculptures in Orchard

SINGAPORE - Many know Orchard Road as the stomping ground of shoppers in Singapore, but as the birthplace of iconic public sculpture?

As early as the 1980s, works of art such as the bronze sculpture Mother And Child by Singapore artist Ng Eng Teng and the striking aluminium-wrought Love by American artist Robert Indiana have made their homes in public spaces along the shopping belt.

The pieces of sculpture have been constants in the evolving landscape of the boulevard over the years, although some have had to relocate to new spots in the vicinity to accommodate traffic and building developments.

The work of beautifying and sprucing up the road is typically undertaken by the Government, but many of the sculptures that dot the stretch were, in fact, installed by forward-thinking and art-loving developers of properties that flank the road.

Mother And Child, for example, was commissioned by Far East Organisation for its first retail and office development, Far East Shopping Centre, while Love was commissioned by Wing Tai Land for Park Mall in Penang Road.

In the bustle of flashing traffic road signs, streaming pedestrians and vehicles whizzing by, the works of art are oases to rest one's eyes and cultural landmarks that interrupt the otherwise homogeneous landscape of the area.

Indeed, the eye-catching blue-green Love sculpture installed outside Park Mall in 1993 was perhaps one of the most photographed sculptures in Singapore before it was relocated a few years ago to its current spot in the courtyard of Winsland House II (left), a Wing Tai property in Penang Road, where it is hidden from view of the main road.

The sculpture used to be a favourite photo-taking spot among lovebirds celebrating Valentine's Day and couples would stop by before or after a visit to the nearby Registry of Marriages to preserve an important moment spelt out by the sculpture.

The work, with its letters stacked in two rows of two and read left to right and top down, is one of several similar sculptures erected in cities around the world, including New York City and Tokyo.

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