Rippling over the 230m long Fort Siloso Road, “Waves of the Straits” unfurls the historical timeline and legends of the Singapore Straits, the stretch of seas and shores between Sentosa and the mainland. It is my largest physical artwork ever created, in conjunction with Singapore’s Bicentennial commemoration, comprising of a series of paintings on the walls, the road, and rocks.
Before entering the fort, three large “windows” prelude views of the Straits in the 1300s, 1800s and 1970s. Try spotting the legendary Dragon Tooth Gate rock which once stood near where Vivo City stands today.
At the narrow Gateway, don’t be afraid to step “into the well”. The stepped well brings you back to the 1300s Srivijaya and Majapahit era. When you see a boat, catch it and paddle up the strait. Look out for “Singa” (lion in Sanskrit), the same lion spotted by the first King of Temasek, Sang Nila Utama. Paddle on gently as you pass by Orang Laut fishing villages dotting the tranquil seashores.
The waves rise and the Strait gets busier. Large ships have arrived from the Malay archipelago, Europe, Middle East, China and India. These ships brought people and their cultures onto the land. It becomes a melting pot of cultures. Spot the Malay Annals, the Singapore Stone, Silver Keris, Chinese maps & porcelain wares, Javanese jewellery etc…many of these original artefacts are displayed in the National Museum today!
The waves soon calmed. The people settled. The spices and agriculture they brought to this land took roots, settling alongside native flora and fauna. Can you spot the market scene found on the S$50-note? And beware of the Tiger! Fort Siloso was once called ‘Sarang Rimau’, Malay for ‘Tiger’s den’!
The road opens up at the roundabout. The waves rise again dramatically, unfolding legends of the Telok Blangah swordfish and the Kusu Island turtle. The waves hit hard on the shores of Sarang Rimau, but it is now heavily fortified by the British. Deceptive staircases and tunnels lead to the mysterious depth of the Fort. If you dare, enter the subterranean tunnel behind the sentry post. Who knows, you may exit on the mainland at Labrador Park?!