Here’s What Went Down at the Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2016

Relive all the unforgettable moments at the recently-concluded Aliwal Urban Arts Festival 2016.

Photos by Dahalan Sarlip

Nothing, not even the rain that came and went, could dampen the mood at the Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2016, as over 3,700 people came down to celebrate the arts in its various forms of expression painted all over the Kampong Gelam precinct.

For many visitors, checking out the ‘Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered‘ exhibition was at the very top of their agenda. Featuring the work of 16 regional artists, the showcase exceeded expectations and was attended by so many people at the same time, that a snaking queue was formed outside the exhibition hall to keep things in order.

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“The turnout for the exhibition was indeed overwhelming. I was very honored by the presence of those who came. The visitors ranged from skateboarding enthusiasts to local artists and even families. I was happy to see both the young and old deeply engaged with the exhibition,” said curator Iman Ismail.

Those who missed the chance to check out the exhibition, fret not. It’s still open to the public, from now till February 14th.


Those who wanted a slice of skateboarding action had their wishes fulfilled at The Asphalt Challenge, as a stretch of the Aliwal Street carpark transformed into a competitive skatepark, complete with ramps and obstacles.

Hafiz Salleh, manager of competition organizer Skate SG, was thoroughly impressed by the daredevil skills put up by the participants. “Skateboarders were giving everything they got and trying to beat their personal best. Even seasoned skaters were having fun and putting on a show for the crowd,” he said.


Bringing home the top prize for the “Billabong Asphalt Jam” and “RVCA Best Trick” segments were Muhammad Hamirun bin Salihudin and Muhammad Farhan bin Zulkarnain respectively. The former blitzed the course, while the latter nailed a crooked grind nollie heelflip out that wowed everyone and secured his victory.

But veteran skateboarders were not left out. Syed Muhd Syed Alwi, who has over 16 years of skateboarding experience under his belt, joined the fray and came in third place in the “Billabong Asphalt Jam” category.

“I felt happy seeing how skateboarding in Singapore has progressed and how the youth came up with crazy tricks that they’ve mastered in just a few years. I hope to see more skateboarding events that will allow the talented youth out there to shine,” he said.


Any skateboarder worth his salt would know that skateboarding and graffiti are two sub-cultures that go hand in hand, and Aliwal Urban Art Festival certainly delivered on that. Not too far from The Asphalt Challenge, the Rscls crew kept themselves busy as they spent hours spraying layer upon later of paint to create Instagram-worthy graffiti pieces. Major props to them for their dedication!

Over on the music front, Masia One, host of the outdoor music segment, entertained one and all with her signature attitude and energetic vibes. Music artists and collectives, established and emerging, sang and mixed to their heart’s content, with attendees moving to every beat throughout the evening.


“It was surreal to perform for such a participative crowd that actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Really mindblowing,” said omarKENOBI of Mediocre Haircut Crew.

It was no less exciting at the Aliwal Arts Centre’s multi-purpose hall, as acts like Dru Chen, Take Two and Cesspit gave concert-worthy performances. There were moments when latecomers had to settle for hanging out outside the hall to catch the music, before trying to squeeze into the venue when the next performer went up on stage.


All good things must come to an end, but the Aliwal Urban Art Festival will definitely be back with a bang. “We’re most excited to figure out how we can top ‘Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered’,” said Natalie Tan, Senior Manager of place making at Aliwal Arts Centre.

“This year we put in a little bit of punk culture, as well as the workshop element. We’ll definitely be expanding that, and possibly introducing other types of street cultures into the mix,” she added.

Till next year, enjoy the photos.

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