OH! Kampong Gelam: Palimpsest (2024)

Kampong Gelam, Art Walk

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In 1824, two roads halve the Sultan’s compound.
In 1966, the precinct is emptied out.
In 2023, the boundaries are redrawn once again.

Through 12 site-specific art installations that unearth stories within this neighbourhood, we explore how maps have constantly rewritten the story of Kampong Gelam.

Lines and boundaries, scraped and scratched into the surface over and over, until they blend into a palimpsest of fickle lines and faithless memories. For each road drawn, each building gazetted, each heritage plaque erected, there is a missing story that speaks of fractured spaces and displaced communities. This neighbourhood still holds its scars, scrapes and scratches, its dreams and tragedies.

Click here for a virtual walk-through.

This field kit, beautifully designed by FACTORY, documents the stories of the residents and features an essay on Kampong Gelam by local writer Alfian Sa’at.

Contact to get a copy.

Alan Oei


Anthony Chin [SG]
Chok Si Xuan [SG]
Ezzam Rahman [SG]
Hothouse [SG] (with Kerem Ozan Bayraktar [TR], Rafi Abdullah, Ruby Jayaseelan, Safuan Johari [SG])
Isabella Ong [SG]
Jane Lee [SG]
Latiff Mohidin [MY] (with Syed Muhd Hafiz [SG])
nor [SG]
Pangrok Sulap [MY]
Ruangsak Anuwatwimon [TH]
Wantanee Siripattananuntakul [TH]


Tanah Air: Kampong Gelam by Another Name

Date: 2 March 2024, Saturday
Time: 10am - 11:30am
Venue: 45 Sultan Gate S(198492) Level 2
Admission: Free

Tanah – land. Air – water. Tanah air – homeland.

Kampong Gelam today is a patchwork of bars and cafes, souvenir stores and capsule hotels. It is where indie crowds and tourists flock to eat and shop in the day; at night, hotel guests remain. But this was not always the case – entire communities used to live here for centuries. Despite attempts to transform Kampong Gelam, what personal histories remain and what community memories defy erasure?

Join our speakers as they discuss their respective research, reflections, and lived experiences of Kampong Gelam – the land of a former thriving Malay port town and the waters of early riverine settlements. Learn to call Kampong Gelam by its other name: home.

Syafiqah Jaaffar (Curator, Writer, Researcher)

Faizah Jamal (Resident of Kampong Gelam)
Dr Imran Tajudeen (Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore)
Sara Lau (Cultural Worker)

Food, Fashion, Faith: The Faces of Women Leadership in Kampong Gelam

Date: 9 March 2024, Saturday
Time: 10am - 11:30am
Venue: 45 Sultan Gate S(198492) Level 2
Admission: Free

The first local mosque to be named after a woman. The first magazine for Malay women in the region.

Kampong Gelam is historically a centre of enterprise in Singapore and the Malay world. It is also a place of many firsts for women. From Hajjah Fatimah to Saleha Mohd Shah, women pioneers made a name for themselves and paved new paths for their communities. Their legacy continues to inspire new generations of trailblazing Malay women in an increasing number of fields.

Join us for a conversation with Kampong Gelam entrepreneurs in the fields of food, faith, and fashion.  

Oniatta Effendi (Founder, Galeri Tokokita)

Maria Didih (Second-Generation Owner, Hjh Maimunah Restaurant)
Ustazah Liyana Musfirah (CEO and Founder, Hayaa’ Network)
Zahra Aljunied (Third-Generation Representative, Toko Aljunied)


Art Walk

OH Open House Ltd
92C Syed Alwi Road
Level 4
Singapore 207668
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