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Downtown Line 2 to feature Singaporean artworks

SINGAPORE — When the Downtown Line 2 opens at the end of December, commuters will not only find it easier to get around, they will also find it more pleasant.

SINGAPORE — When the Downtown Line 2 opens at the end of December, commuters will not only find it easier to get around, they will also find it more pleasant.

Most of the stations from Bukit Panjang to Rochor will feature artworks by Singapore artists such as MESSYMSXI, whose huge artwork will greet commuters at Newton station.

The 30-year-old illustrator hopes people can find something familiar in it. "They might start looking for things that I hide in the artwork like people or names because I like to hide things in my artwork so this becomes like a huge 'Where's Wally?'," she said.

"This is especially so for people who live around Newton station because they might find some of the buildings in the artwork familiar because I took buildings around Newton as an inspiration."

Her artwork seeks to imagine what life could be like in the future, with new facilities being built, and historic places preserved. 

As commuters ride the escalator, they can take some time to admire the detailed illustrations. It is one of the largest artworks on the Downtown Line 2 stations, and about 11 metres tall, stretching all the way from the train platform to the ceiling.

All the artworks reflect the character and history of the area. For example, those at the Botanic Gardens station feature the iconic Tembusu tree.  

Said visual artist Shirley Soh, 59: "We are a city famous for our greenery and our trees but we live such hurried lives, so I hope that if it's anything, they would notice a tree while they are waiting for the train and go out and hug a tree."

And at Little India station, an artwork by Grace Tan blends modern techniques, with the rich cultural heritage of the area.

"It's quite abstract, it's also quite contemporary. The thing is that you can't really tell what it is. I quite like this ambiguity, so it's up to them to form their own connections. Hopefully, they can trace it back to the Indian sari patterns," said the 36-year-old artist.

"I think it's important to the site, it really heightens this Little India, this area that's very rich culturally."

Other artworks include stamp printed patterns of tree bark and fruits at Stevens Station, and images of vintage objects from the Thieves' Market at Rochor Station. 

n some stations, it is a community effort with artists and students contributing to the works - taking around two to three years to complete them.

This is part of the Downtown Line Art in Transit programme by the Land Transport Authority, which will feature artworks in 33 stations when completed.

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