My mother has a great curiosity about the heritage of each place she visits. She is fascinated by street life, and loves to explore new and unusual shops, cafes and neighbourhoods. She always manages to spark up a conversation (often in sign language and broken English) with a local character who gives her his life story and also a greater understanding of his culture.
So it is wonderful fun to have her here so that we can explore Singapore together. A lot of the places I have already visited many times, like Arab Street, Little India and Chinatown but we also managed to find a new and interesting spot the other day that was completely new to me.
We decided to make the effort to visit the Redot Gallery on Everton Street. This gallery specialises in Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) art and I have been meaning to visit it for the past three years. I took a look at the map and it seemed a little out of the way with no landmarks or places of interest nearby . So the MRT to Outram Park then a quick taxi ride got us there easily.
As soon as we got out of the taxi we were struck by the beauty of the shophouses stretching up the street. We walked up Everton Road, Spottiswoode Park Road and Blair Road taking photos and enjoying being tourists for a bit. Some houses were being renovated, and most looked well kept and maintained. This is a heritage area that I never knew existed! The genius is that every shophouse is different in small and subtle ways. Be it the size and shape of the front door, the gorgeous wooden window shutters, the sometimes ornate plaster work and of course the colours each house is painted, each one has a personality of it's own.
The houses on Blair Road are quite ornate, with proper iron gates leading into small gardens with strategically placed ferns so you can have a glimpse of the interior of the house, but nothing more. I was feeling quite voyeuristic as I tried to peer in through windows, sometimes glimpsing a maid in a Vermeer-like state of domestic tranquility, sometimes glimpsing beautiful tiles or beams or a wooden staircase.
If you are new to Singapore or just enjoy meandering through some interesting streets, this is a wonderful little detour. And of course, the Redot Gallery is a hidden gem, housed in a restored shophouse full of beautiful paintings. Their new exhibition is a collection of paintings from Mornington Island Arts & Crafts, and the opening is on Wednesday, 8th July, 7.30pm and the exhibition runs until Saturday 22nd August, 2009.
Labels:Free things to do