Artist Didier Jaba Mathieu mural for lyf one north Singapore MAIN

Artist Didier ‘Jaba’ Mathieu is Bringing Vibrancy and Randomness to Singapore’s Streets

Artist Didier ‘Jaba’ Mathieu, from Columbia, is perhaps one of Singapore’s best known artists; known for his distinctive graffiti inspired mural art in particular. Thanks to his latest project for lyf one-north Singapore, Jaba is now the artist known for the largest mural artwork in Singapore. 

A really massive mural

The first dedicated coliving property in Singapore, lyf one-north Singapore, was created to offer accommodation for the wide variety of people working in the country’s research and innovation hub. One of its unique points, and why Jaba got involved, is the idea of incorporating art into everyday life with programmes like #lyfxart.

“Standing at over 25 metres across 7 storeys, this piece is the tallest mural wall art on a private development in Singapore,” explains Jaba. “It took me three months to conceptualise and one month to paint. The mural at lyf one-north Singapore is [now] completed and I’m very excited to showcase the final artwork at the upcoming grand opening of the coliving property.”

Jaba actually physically painted the entire project, all by himself, using a jury-rigged gondola. 

“It was a challenging project as I had to paint literally like a printer, by painting a succession of stripes from right to left to complete the mural. I was using a rigged gondola that could only move vertically, so every stripe had to be fully completed before moving the rig of the gondola to the left and continuing with the painting. A total of five stripes were needed to complete the whole mural!”

The concept behind the mural was inspired by “one-north’s vibrancy as a research and innovation hub”, Jaba says.

“The mural depicts an aspiration for a utopian planet in the future where nature is interwoven in a sustainable city filled with greenery and biophilic designs, connected by a highly sophisticated transport system. This is reflective of the dynamic and innovative spirit of both the one-north district and lyf one-north Singapore.

“Through the mural, I hope to depict how lyf one-north Singapore serves as a connecting node to enliven communities, individuals and experiences.

Artist Didier Jaba Mathieu mural for lyf one north Singapore 3
Image: lyf one north Singapore

“The most challenging part of the design was properly integrating lyf one-north Singapore’s round windows into the whole design. To execute the idea of having pipes in a specific perspective to give this optical illusion was difficult because the trees planted in front of the property obscured the view of the entire mural. I had to be 100% certain of the right orientation of the lines in creating the shape of the pipes.”

According to Jaba, the lyf one-north Singapore project is an example of mural art, rather than graffiti: Graffiti’s main theme revolves around the lettering of the tag itself – it is the main subject! The only thing in common is the technique with spray cans.”

Cubism, futurism and constructivism in Singapore

Jaba’s particular style has been described as a mix of “cubism, futurism and constructivism”. 

“My first artistic influence was mostly from the graffiti world, and the artists that preceded me. These artists are mostly from NYC, featured in the book ‘Subway Art’. Another major influence was from European comic book artists such as Moebius, Bilal, Druillet, and Franquin, among many others,” says Jaba.

“Japanese artists like Miyazaki and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) are other massive influences in my art. I believe inspiration and influences are everywhere in nature, and also in art history from all continents and periods.

Artist Didier Jaba Mathieu mural for lyf one north Singapore 4
Image: lyf one north Singapore

“I think graffiti and mural art being accepted in Singapore is definitely a good thing as it brings vibrancy and randomness in a city that is overall very well designed.”

According to Jaba, Singaporean artists have enough creativity and talent, however he believes that there needs to be more “confidence and opportunities for all”.  

“Graffiti will always be considered as a misfit in the art world. In the distant future, graffiti will have the appreciation and recognition it deserves, but that will only happen when it will almost cease to exist as its purest form. Just not anytime soon!”

For more information about Didier ‘Jaba’ Mathieu, follow him on Instagram at @didierjabamathieu, and for more information about Mural Lingo, go to For more information about lyf one-north Singapore, go to

For more interesting and creative artists, check out our Arts Section.

Main image: Didier ‘Jaba’ Mathieu


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