Art in Transit



Art in Transit is a programme in which artworks are seamlessly integrated within the environs of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations.1 Approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 1997, the programme was first unveiled to the public in 2003.2

Description
The Art in Transit programme comprises various works of art by accomplished artists, including Cultural Medallion recipients and younger practitioners of various arts disciplines.3 Their works are showcased at stations along the North East Line (NEL), Circle Line (CCL) and Downtown Line (DTL), with stations on the CCL and DTL featuring somewhat younger artists than those on the NEL.4


Significance
Art in Transit is significant as it endows each MRT station with a distinct identity and character, often derived from the cultural and historical origins of the immediate neighbourhood.5 Methods employed include direct engagement with local residents, such as the handprints of 3,000 people featured in Seck Yok Ying’s Hands Up for Hougang.6 Coupled with the placement of art in spaces with high human traffic, Art in Transit encourages the appreciation of art by the general public, adding vitality and character to the experience of travelling by public transport.7


As a whole, Art in Transit may be differentiated from earlier inclusions of art in MRT stations on the North South and East West lines. These artworks typically comprised paintings or freestanding sculptures – almost as afterthoughts to the overall station plans – which emphasised utility over aesthetic concerns.8 Art in Transit, on the other hand, was formulated through a joint effort by the Art Review Panel (ARP), Architectural Design Review Panel, individual artists and the community at large. The joint effort was coordinated by the art coordinator and programme curator to produce relevant and engaging artwork, integrated seamlessly into the architectural finishes of the stations.9

Development
North East Line
In December 1997, the LTA issued a public invitation for expressions of interest in the Art in Transit programme on the NEL, to which there were 83 respondents. Of the 83 submissions, 19 were selected by the ARP chaired by Ho Kah Leong, then principal of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. To ensure good working relationships, meetings were held between the individual stations’ architectural teams and the artists to discuss the art concepts and approaches as well as to determine the allocation of artists to specific stations.10


Circle Line
In contrast with the NEL, artworks for the CCL’s Art in Transit programme were selected through a mix of competitions and commissions. As proposed by the ARP chaired by Kwok Kian Chow, then director of the Singapore Art Museum, the original plan was to have 10 stations with works selected by a series of competitions, and 18 with works commissioned by the LTA. The commissioned artists were recommended to the ARP by Karen Lim, the programme’s curator and assistant director (curatorial) of the National University of Singapore Museum.11


The competitions were very popular, attracting almost twice the number of entrants as the NEL’s public invitation for expressions of interest. This was possibly due to the prize money of S$50,000, which significantly exceeded the S$30,000 prize offered by the UOB Painting of the Year competition. Despite the large number of submissions, the ARP could not find any suitable work from the competition entries for four of the stations, thus necessitating further commissions.12

The CCL also features Art Seats, which are found at the line’s interchange stations. These Art Seats were selected through the International Art Seats Design Competition, which was organised by the LTA and launched at the 10th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in 2006. The jury included prominent international designers Dick Powell and Toshiyuki Kita as well as local representatives comprising art educator Milenko Prvacki, real estate developer Daniel Teo and architect Mok Wei Wei.13

The winning entries for the Arts Seats competition, which was open to international participants, were Matrix and Rain. Both entries were submitted by Singaporean duo Lui Honfay and Yasmine Chan, who were architectural students at the National University of Singapore at the time of the competition. Matrix, which clinched the top prize in the international competition, consists of a series of benches with the name of the station they are placed at engraved on the seat surface in a dot-matrix style. These benches are found at all six interchange stations on the CCL: HarbourFront, Serangoon, Buona Vista, Paya Lebar, Bishan and Dhoby Ghaut. The second-prize entry, Rain, features a series of steel benches shaped like water puddles. They are found at the Bishan, Paya Lebar and Buona Vista interchange stations.14

Downtown Line
The DTL Art in Transit programme was launched by LTA with the objective of featuring artworks in all 34 planned stations on the line. Similar to the CCL Art in Transit programme, the artworks were to be selected through a combination of competitions and commissions. The ARP was once again appointed to provide guidance during the selection process.15 The first DTL Art in Transit artworks were unveiled in late 2013 with the opening of the stations on DTL 1, the first phase of the new line.16

List of artworks

North East Line: 18 artworks
17
NE1 HarbourFront: Enigmatic Appearances by Ian Woo.

NE3 Outram Park: Memories by Wang Lu Sheng and The Commuters by Teo Eng Seng.
NE4 Chinatown: The Phoenix’s-Eye Domain by Tan Swie Hian.
NE5 Clarke Quay: The Reflections by Chua Ek Kay.
NE6 Dhoby Ghaut: Universal Language by Sun Yu-Li and Interchange by Milenko and Delia Prvacki.
NE7 Little India: Memoirs of the Past by S. Chandrasekaran.
NE8 Farrer Park: Rhythmic Exuberance by Poh Siew Wah.
NE9 Boon Keng: Metamorphosis by Lim Poh Teck.
NE10 Potong Pasir: Point of View by Matthew Ngui.
NE11 Woodleigh: Slow Motion by April Ng Kiaw Ngor.
NE12 Serangoon: Memories of Childhood by Eng Joo Heng.
NE13 Kovan: The Trade-Off by Eng Tow.
NE14 Hougang: Hands Up for Hougang by Seck Yok Ying.
NE15 Buangkok: Water, Nature and the Contemporary by Vincent Leow.
NE16 Sengkang: T.R.A.N.S.I.T.I.O.N.S. by Koh Bee Liang.
NE17 Punggol: Water, Landscape and Future by Goh Beng Kwan.

Circle Line: 30 artworks
18
CC1 Dhoby Ghaut: Man and Environment by Baet Yeok Kuan.

CC2 Bras Basah: The Amazing Neverending Underwater Adventures! by Tan Kai Syng.
CC3 Esplanade: A Piece of Ice-Clear Heart by Lim Mu Hue@LimAik Lee.
CC4 Promenade: Dreams in Social Cosmic Odyssey by :phunk studio.
CC5 Nicoll Highway: Re-Claiming the Peripherals by Khiew Huey Chian.
CC6 Stadium: The Perfect Moment by Roy Zhang.
CC7 Mountbatten: Lord Mountbatten Thinks of Pink by Jason Wee.
CC8 Dakota: Little Things, Little Stories by A Dose of Light.
CC9 Paya Lebar: The Signs of Times by Salleh Japar.
CC10 MacPherson: Virtuous Cycle by Kay Kok Chung Oi.
CC11 Tai Seng: Equilibrium by Francis Ng.
CC12 Bartley: The Coin Mat by Jane Lee.
CC13 Serangoon: View of Life by Sarkasi Said.
CC14 Lorong Chuan: Through the Looking Glass by Yoma Studio and A Dose of Light.
CC15 Bishan: Move! by Soh Ee Shaun.
CC16 Marymount: Superstring by Joshua Yang.
CC17 Caldecott: The Cartography of Memories by Hazel Lim.
CC19 Botanic Gardens: Aquatic Fauna No. 1 by Lam Hoi Lit and Chua Chye Teck.
CC20 Farrer Road: Art Lineage by Erzan Bin Adam.
CC21 Holland Village: Holland Beat by Jeremy Sharma.
CC22 Buona Vista: The Tree of Life by Gilles Massot.
CC23 one-north: A Visual Narrative of Pandemonic Rhythmic Movement by Yek Wong.
CC24 Kent Ridge: Poetry Mix-Up by Mixed Reality Lab.
CC25 Haw Par Villa: Eroclamation by Tan Wee Lit.
CC26 Pasir Panjang: Lieutenant Adnan by Ho Tzu Nyen.
CC27 Labrador Park: Without Which/Would Have Been/Impossible by Heman Chong.
CC28 Telok Blangah: Notes Towards a Museum of Cooking Pot Bay by Michael Lee.
CC29 HarbourFront: Commuting Waves by Jason Ong.
CE1 Bayfront: When the Ship Comes In by Lee Wen.
CE2 Marin Bay: Train Rides on Rainy Days by Nah Yong En.

Circle Line Art Seats
19
CC1 Dhoby Ghaut, CC9 Paya Lebar, CC13 Serangoon, CC15 Bishan, CC22 Buona Vista, CC29 HarbourFront: Matrix by Lui Honfay and Yasmine Chan Hoi Yin.

CC9 Paya Lebar, CC15 Bishan, CC22 Buona VistaRain by Lui Honfay and Yasmine Chan Hoi Yin.

Downtown Line 1: Six artworks20
DT14 Bugis:
 Untitled by Patrick Chia.

DT15 Promenade: Earthcake by Ana Prvacki.
DT16 Bayfront:
 When the Ship Comes In by Lee Wen.

DT17 Downtown: Leaves by Jason Lim.
DT18 Telok Ayer: Bulbous Abode by Lim Shing Ee.
DT19 Chinatown: Flying Colours by Cheo Chai-Hiang.



Authors

Bruce Quek & Jamie Han




References
1. Land Transport Authority. (2013, September). Downtown Line 1: Art-In-Transit. Connect, 8–9. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicationsResearch/files/ReportNewsletter/Connect/Connect_2013_Sep.pdf; Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 2. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf
2. Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 2. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf; Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, p. 19. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
3. Chia, A. (2008, August 21). Draw the lineThe Straits Times, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 9, 11. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
4. Chia, A. (2008, August 21). Draw the lineThe Straits Times, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 2. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf
5. Land Transport Authority. (2013, September). Downtown Line 1: Art-In-Transit. Connect, 8–9. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicationsResearch/files/ReportNewsletter/Connect/Connect_2013_Sep.pdf; Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 3. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf; Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
6. Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 142–144. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
7. Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 3. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf; Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, p. 19. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
8. Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 14, 21. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
9. Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 4. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf; Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 14, 16. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
10. Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 16, 18. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
11. Chia, A. (2008, August 21). Draw the lineThe Straits Times, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Chia, A. (2008, August 21). Draw the lineThe Straits Times, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Zhuang, J. (2013). Art in Transit: Circle Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, p. 188. (Call no.: RSING 747.8531 ZHU)
14. Zhuang, J. (2013). Art in Transit: Circle Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 188–193. (Call no.: RSING 747.8531 ZHU)
15. Land Transport Authority. (2012, February). Art in Transit programme, p. 3. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicTransport/files/W0002%20-%20201202%20Art%20in%20Transit.pdf
16. Cheong, M. (2014, January 18). Downtown Line’s upscale look. The Straits Times, pp. 18–19; Ting, L. (2013, December 3). View works on the fast track. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Tan, S. Y. (2003). Art in Transit: North East Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 30–169, 176–177. (Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN)
18. Zhuang, J. (2013). Art in Transit: Circle Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 20–183. (Call no.: RSING 747.8531 ZHU)
19. Zhuang, J. (2013). Art in Transit: Circle Line MRT – Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority, pp. 187–193. (Call no.: RSING 747.8531 ZHU)
20. Land Transport Authority. (2013, September). Downtown Line 1: Art-In-Transit. Connect, 8–9. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from the Land Transport Authority website: https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicationsResearch/files/ReportNewsletter/Connect/Connect_2013_Sep.pdf



The information in this article is valid as at 13 November 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Visual Arts
Law and government>>Safety administration>>Rail transportation
Arts>>Visual Arts
Arts
Art--Singapore