Arts News Singapore

Art What!: Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2023

Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL), the Aliwal Urban Art Festival (AUAF) makes its return on 14 January 2023 for its seventh edition to showcase Singapore’s vibrant urban culture scene at the Aliwal Arts Centre (AAC). Taking place on the last weekend of Singapore Art Week 2023, the Festival will feature renowned local artists from different urban art practices in an exciting array of free activities such as live graffiti painting, music and dance performances, and a pop-up artists’ market in the heart of Kampong Gelam.

Collaborating for the first time, renowned visual artist and founder of RSCLS, ZERO will join hands with Yogyakarta based graffiti artist TUYULOVEME to refresh the iconic façade of the side alley wall at AAC with a new mural representing the artists’ response to each other’s unique practice. Passers-by will also be able to catch them in action along Aliwal Street in the lead-up to the Festival.

Moving into AAC, 12 prominent urban artists, ANTZ, BONY, Demster, nuriman, KILAS, PHATNOEZ, SAM LO, SPAZ, SPEAK CRYPTIC, TraseOne, TUYULOVEME, and Boon Baked will exercise their artistic prowess for FLIPSIDE, an exhibition where they are challenged to create in the tabula scalata format – presenting two images within a singular canvas. Audiences will actively participate in the work as they move in the space in order to see and absorb the work in its entirety. The physical movement of audiences and the existence of multiple images within a canvas and exhibition space invites visitors to reflect on the need for different and shifting perspectives in order for interaction and coexistence in an evolving urban environment.

The Festival will enliven the precinct with a day full of live urban art activities spanning visual arts, dance, and music. Witness graffiti artists paint the walls of AAC from start to finish in two Live Graffiti Painting showcases, giving audiences a peek into a graffiti artist’s process. Has.J will transform the back wall of AAC with his well-known geometrical compositions and experimental typography, while Titan Aerosol Crew, one of Singapore’s pioneer graffiti groups, will inspire audiences with their mural in Courtyard A.

For those looking to move and groove to urban dance and music, David Siow of Steady State Records will present a line-up of independent bands and artists of various music genres, from math rock band, woes, to feel-good R&B band, Astronauts, featuring Thai artist Lukpeach whom they have an upcoming collaboration with. Street dance duo ScRach MarcS rounds up the festivities by celebrating the roots of street dance through a block party – a final rendezvous of dance performances, exhibition battles, and getting everyone to join in the party and dance the night away.

Hear from SAM LO, SPEAKCRYPTIC, TraseOne, and SPAZ as they take the stage in the panel discussion, SEE YOU ON THE FLIPSIDE: Artist Talks moderated by ZERO and provide invaluable insight into their artistic process working on FLIPSIDE. The sharing will be exploring topics of interaction, identity and representation within and between communities while inviting audiences to join in and contribute to the discussion.

Complete the day by trying one’s hand at urban art and street culture activities and engage in in-depth conversations with artists, creatives and practitioners involved. From silkscreen printing and street art tours around Kampong Gelam to bike fixing and graffiti workshops, the pop-up Black Market curated by RSCLS will have something for everyone interested to learn something new from the street culture scene.

Sim Wan Hui, Director of Venue Programmes at Arts House Limited said, “Arts House Limited is excited to bring the creative community back together again for a fully in-person edition of Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2023. With a wide array of interactive activities lined up by our creative community, we hope that families and youth alike will come spend their Saturday with us to experience urban arts of different mediums and by various communities.”

Held in conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2023, the Aliwal Urban Art Festival is a celebration of the precinct’s rich and diverse urban arts scene, with free admission for the public. Arts House Limited works with its resident artists, art companies and precinct stakeholders to further develop a diverse arts scene in Singapore through collaborative partnerships and community engagement efforts.

Aliwal Urban Art Festival takes place on 14th January from 12pm till late at Aliwal Arts Centre. More information and full programme available here

SAW 2023 runs from 6th to 15th January 2023. For more information on SAW 2023 programmes, visit, or follow @sgartweek on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram

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