Painting “Amah” & “Barber” Murals

This Barber shop was the very first street mural I conceptualised. I was inspired to paint a street mural after having spotted many murals popping up all over Singapore and Malaysia around 2013/2014. I even spotted Ernest Zacharevic’s murals in Victoria Street! I wanted to give painting murals a try too, but I was too busy at work, I had a full time job in Finance. In 2015, I saw hundreds of murals popping up in Singapore to celebrate SG50, I thought I had missed the boat. Better late than never, when I was taking a break from work, I decided to give it a shot.

I cold-called on doors in my neighbourhood. It was difficult because most residents were out at work and they were tenants rather than owners. I saw a house with a nice wall at the back alley. I googled the address and found that it was for rental, with a number to call a Property Agent. With a bit of courage, I called the agent and requested her to introduce me to the owner because I wanted to paint on his house wall. She was so kind to agree to convey the message., Two weeks later, I got a call from the owner!

When I met him at the site, he asked men to show him my portfolio which I had none. But I convinced him with the “Barber” sketch and said that I would whitewash the wall if he didn’t like it. He asked me if I could paint something related to Peranakan because he is, Overnight, I researched and drew a sketch of “Amah” doing laundries of Peranakan dresses in a Peranakan kitchen. He liked it and asked me to paint both “Amah” and “Barber”! We submitted the sketches to URA for approval and received the “no-objection” notice after two weeks. I couldn’t wait to start painting.

I spent about a week each painting the two murals. During the painting, many passers-by stopped to watch and took pictures. Words spread quickly in social media. The murals were popular!  Thereon, many people came to view the murals, which further attracted the attention from newspapers, magazines and TV. The outcome was totally unexpected. Thereon, I received many requests to paint murals from other property owners and business owners in other parts of Singapore.

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On my last day at the site, while adding the finishing touches and signing off, a family came by and we chatted. Little did I know the man of the family is a blogger, an outstanding blogger! until we subsequently befriended on Facebook and I got to read his very touching blog of his visit to my street arts : Life’s Tiny Miracles

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