Art in transit: Your daily escape into creativity (NEL Edition)

Published on 04 March 2024
By Team Catch

Imagine visiting art galleries every day. That’s what some of us do, just by commuting on the North East MRT Line (NEL). Since 1997, the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) has made open calls for local artists to propose artworks for each new MRT line being built, transforming stations into visual arts that we immerse ourselves in. This Art In Transit initiative is in line with the spirit of the National Arts Council’s (NAC) The Arts Can Inspire Your Every Day campaign.

Let's take a ride through five NEL MRT stations  from north to south, and look at some of the fabulous artworks that adorn the station walls.

1. Punggol (NE17)

We start at Punggol Station, and as you descend the escalators to the platforms, look left and right, and you’ll see Goh Beng Kwan’s Water, Landscape & Future - representations of water, the seaside, kampongs, and trees, which are hand-painted on thin layers of glass. When you move, as you would when you’re on an escalator, the artwork takes on a shimmering lenticular effect. Allow those images to linger in your mind as you board the train.

Goh Beng Kwan’s Water, Landscape & Future artworks around Punggol MRT Station 

Enjoy an artful journey down the escalators to begin your day!

2. Hougang (NE14) 

Seck Yok Ying’s Hands Up for Hougang is an installation at Hougang Station, comprising the handprints of over 3,000 people - from babies and grandmothers, to migrant workers, and community leaders. These imprints on wet clay were transferred onto concrete slabs and arranged along the station’s concourse.


Seck Yok Ying’s Hands Up for Hougang community art in Hougang MRT Station 


Discover the heart of community spirit at Hougang Station.

3. Serangoon (NE12) 

Even as you wait at the platform at Serangoon Station, you’ll see Eng Joo Heng’s Memories of Childhood, which features colourful, textured images of children at play, alongside dragonflies, baby birds, and puppies. Their joyful and bold primary colours evoke the innocence and wonder of childhood.

One of Eng Joo Heng’s Memories in Childhood artwork depicting children playing in Serangoon MRT Station 


Transport yourself back to the carefree days of childhood with Eng Joo Heng’s colourful portrayal of children at play!

4. Dhoby Ghaut (NE6) 

Delia and Milenko Prvacki’s mosaic and ceramic work in Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station

Delia and Milenko Prvacki’s large-scale art follows you at every corner in Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.

Dhoby Ghaut Station is a busy three-line interchange, and the neighbourhood is also bustling with the arts, with three arts educational institutions - School of The Arts (SOTA), LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and the new University of the Arts. It’s also walking distance to many of Singapore’s finest museums. But even before you get to street level, you’ll experience large-scale piece of art by Delia and Milenko Prvacki, aptly titled Interchange.

There’s more: spread across 180 pieces is Sun Yu Li’s Universal Language, which draws inspiration from the universal symbols for hunters, fishes, and birds, and bears a striking resemblance to the style of renowned surrealist artist Joan Miro. 


One of Sun Yu Li’s Universal Language artworks in Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station


While you revel at the Prvacki’s art, be sure to not miss our very own Sun Yu Li’s Universal Language! Image credits: Sun Yu Li

5. Chinatown (NE4) 


Chinatown Station provided an opportunity to pay homage to our Singaporean Chinese forebears, with

The Phoenix’s-Eye Domain by the artist Tan Swie Hian featuring a colourful phoenix mural on the station’s concourse wall. A companion poem written by the artist is presented in granite floor tiles in three sets of rhyming couplets.


Tan Swie Hian’s The Phoenix’s-Eye Domain mural in Chinatown MRT Station 


Be dazzled by Tan Swie Hian's vibrant phoenix mural.

One of Tan Swie Hian’s companion poem inscribed on granite floor tiles in Chinatown MRT Station 

Don't forget to admire Tan Swie Hian's companion poems on the MRT platform as you exit the train.

Next time you’re on your commute, keep an eye out for other artworks on the NEL and other lines, and make sure you check back here when we cover how to Catch Art in Transit on our other MRT lines, and let the Arts Inspire Your Every Day.


All images belong to Land Transport Authority (LTA) Singapore.  


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