Singapore wants to be a global center of art and commerce. It hopes by attracting the arts it will be able to attract cultural and intellectual capital that matches its financial reserves and the native industry of its population. But the pursuit of global street cred can make for a amusing contradictions. The city-state is notorious for its strict code of public behavior, one that even bans chewing gum let alone street art and tagging. Nonetheless, some wise soul commissioned graffiti artist Daze to paint a mural there:
Spray-painting is still a rare sight there, where it’s still mostly associated with acts of vandalism punishable by up to three years in jail or eight strokes of the cane. Only recently a publicity stunt by the postal service involving a masked man spray-painting six mailboxes backfired when scandalized Singaporeans called the police. But a couple of weeks ago, Daze completed a commissioned giant canvas standing in front of a public outdoor amphitheater, all under the watchful—if not puzzled—glare of security guards. The piece (a woman’s eye swimming in a sea of colorful words) is now installed in a shopping center, protected by a rope.
Writing on the Wall (Newsweek)