Dekat di mata, Jauh di hati

Date & Time
290a Joo Chiat Rd
290a Joo Chiat Rd


This artwork takes reference from the heritage and spirit of Joo Chiat and Katong. During his walkabout around the area, the artist could not help but feel overwhelmed by the vast changes to the space. Gone were the traditional businesses that echoed a bygone era of colonial Singapore, replaced by hip cafes and trendy businesses as part of ever-evolving redevelopment efforts.

Heritage persists only vestigially, embodied by the shophouses in the area, and reminders of what came before can only be glimpsed as tidbits of information on National Heritage Board plaques. The work is not a critique of change, but an acceptance of the inevitable. The character of Joo Chiat is constituted by the colours of the row of colourful Peranakan shop houses in the area, with mere memories shoring up of the remnants of heritage and culture that created the identity of the district.


Mohammed Zulkarnaen Othman, commonly known by his artist moniker ZERO has been a practising artist since late 2003. His is an unconventional practice, opting to delve into the subculture norms of street art and graffiti. His notion of a street artist as being a pseudo documentarist of contemporary urban life is reflected in his growth as an artist throughout the years.

His artistic research and works revolve around contemporary issues on urban social life and space, current affairs and the adverse effects of pop culture. A reactionary artist, ZERO’s body of works attempts to negotiate the oddity of street and graffiti art in a regulated space while creating social commentaries on the notion of society and space. He founded the RSCLS collective and is still currently active in archiving and documenting urban art practices in Southeast Asia.