Already brimming with rich history and heritage, Kampong Gelam has taken on a new face as an enclave for urban arts. Find out what gives this hub its heartbeat and how you can experience it for yourself this weekend.
The tide is turning on Singapore’s Kampong Gelam precinct and it has nothing to do with the ban on shisha. Once the seat of the old Malay royalty in Singapore, and a Malay-Muslim quarter since the early 1800s, Kampong Gelam, in particular the conservation district – including Bali Lane, Haji Lane, Arab Street, and Aliwal Street – has taken on a new face as an enclave for urban arts.
Much like the urban arts hubs in big cities like London or New York, the community in Kampong Gelam has grown organically, thanks to the artists, musicians, business owners and individuals who played their part in participating and contributing to the urban arts activities happening all around the precinct. Establishments such as Sup Clothing, CAD Cafe and music nights like Good Times, held at Blu Jaz Cafe, are all integral to making Kampong Gelam’s urban arts community thrive.
Kampong Gelam is also home to the Aliwal Arts Centre, an institution that promotes multi-disciplinary arts with a strong focus on performing arts. The Aliwal Arts Centre, with the support of the National Arts Council of Singapore, has also put together the annual Aliwal Urban Art Festival, showcasing a selection of art inspired by international street culture.
This year’s edition, which will take place this Saturday, January 17th, will see a flurry of art-related activities that run the gamut, from graffiti to graphic art, rock to afro-beat and skateboarding to breakdancing. The festival will extend beyond the Aliwal Urban Arts Centre and spill over to the various streets and lanes of Kampong Gelam, so there’s no better time to have a first-hand experience of the precinct’s urban arts scene!
Read the full story and find out what else Kampong Gelam has in store for the urban arts scene by purchasing your copy of Straatosphere Volume 2 online here, or at Front Row, Sup Clothing and Limited Edt stores.