Lace Up and Race Down to the Sneakertopia Exhibition at ArtScience Museum

Sneakertopia, the much-lauded sneaker exhibition from Los Angeles, is finally here in Singapore, with three new zones to boot.
Photo: Michael Murphy

Sneakerheads, are you ready to step into a world of street culture and art? Look no further than Sneakertopia: Step Into Street Culture, the larger-than-life exhibition making its Asian debut at ArtScience Museum this Saturday!

Organised by SPACElogic with partners SL Experiences and Gushcloud International, in collaboration with ArtScience Museum, Singapore, this exhibition was created by Emmy award-winning producer, Steve Harris, and Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, Steve Brown. Sneakertopia is a celebration of sneaker culture and its connections to entertainment, technology, contemporary art, hip-hop, sports, and fashion. And now, it’s finally hitting Singapore. 

Get ready to see over 100 limited-edition sneakers and 70 murals, installations, designs, and original artworks – many of which have never been shown before. Featuring a dazzling line-up of local and international artists, creatives, contributors, and brands, this exhibition is set to knock your socks off.

17 Singaporean and locally-based creatives and contributors are taking part too. From artists HURUHARA, Inkten, Juls, Kristal Melson, PHUNK, soph O, and tobyato, to DJ Kiat from SYNDICATE.SG, as well as designers Pek Shun Ping (ALIVEFORM), Josiah Chua, and Mr. Sabotage, this exhibition showcases the multi-talented creatives who have helped to establish the rise of sneaker and street culture in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Thirteen of these artists and contributors are showcasing never-before-seen artworks in the exhibition – ranging from murals, prints, large-scale installations and sculptures to even a DJ mixtape with tracks selected based on hip-hop artists’ influences and connections to sneaker culture. 

Sneakertopia is all about self-expression, creativity, craft, and collecting. It explores the significance of sneakers, why they became so highly coveted, and how they have inspired athletes and artists around the world. And, let’s be real – is there any sole out there who doesn’t love a good pair of sneakers?

Photo: Sneakertopia / Marina Bay Sands

Featuring 10 colourful zones, Sneakertopia will take you on a creative journey through the world of sneakers and all its connected cultures, inspiring you to leave your mark on each section as you come to embrace your creativity and self-expression. Three zones are new additions, exclusive to the Singapore edition of the exhibition: DIY/Expression, The Street, and Technology + Innovation.

So, get your sneakers on and head down to ArtScience Museum this weekend. You won’t want to miss out on this epic cultural experience! Here are some of our favourite zones at Sneakertopia.

The Playground

Photo: Sneakertopia / Marina Bay Sands

The exhibition focuses on the intersection of sports and sneaker culture, showcasing notable athletes and their collaborations with designers and brands that have led to the development of innovative sneaker designs. Additionally, the exhibition features never-before-seen showcases by Singapore streetwear legend Mr Sabotage, who displays his passion for sneaker collecting and customization, along with his personal collection of vintage varsity pennants and jackets.

The exhibition also includes a display of 14 sneakers from a complete collection of Air Jordan 1s and tools from the SBTG workshop. Finally, the exhibition highlights the important role that Korean production played in Nike’s production chain during the 1980s, as evidenced by the discovery of a sole bearing Korean characters indicating that it was “of the highest quality.”

The Backlot

Photo: Sneakertopia / Marina Bay Sands

The Backlot zone of Sneakertopia showcases the impact of sneaker culture in the entertainment industry, featuring films, television series, and media that have contributed to the widespread popularity of sneakers. The zone includes references to popular Hollywood films such as Do the Right Thing, Space Jam, and Back to the Future II, which have featured iconic sneaker designs that have become cultural symbols.

In addition to these references, the zone also features a collection of sneakers and art loaned by award-winning pop superstar JJ Lin. Lin, who is known for his love of street culture, has generously contributed rare sneakers and artworks by prominent contemporary artists like Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, and Daniel Arsham. The installation is designed to mimic the layout of a house, with the Laugh Now Door B by Banksy serving as the ‘front door’ framed by smaller paintings by other artists.

Visitors to the exhibition’s concept store can also find apparel from the FW 2022 collection of Lin’s lifestyle label, SMG. Pronounced as ‘smudge,’ SMG stands for ‘Still Moving Under Gunfire,’ which reflects the belief of persevering in style even in difficult situations. This exclusive collection is only available at Sneakertopia and offers visitors the chance to snag unique pieces of clothing and accessories.

The Art + Sole Gallery

Photo: Sneakerhead / Marina Bay Sands

The Art + Sole Gallery has two zones dedicated to artists who are passionate about kicks. Back in the 80s, New York City saw the rise of sneaker culture and a new generation of artists who used sneakers as their canvas and inspiration to create amazing artworks.

One of the zones is all about sustainability and recycling. They’re all about using materials like cardboard and deadstock fabrics to create new art pieces. The artworks reflect on the world we live in, mass consumption and hype culture, and how brands can be more eco-friendly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by sneaker production.

Here, check out a massive (quite literally) highlight of the exhibition by French sculptor  Smoluk, who is based in Montréal. She is inspired by sneaker culture and hip-hop music, and creates dope sneaker sculptures using recycled materials.

She loves using the adidas Superstar and Nike Air Force 1s as her canvas. Her bigger-than-life sneakers represent how sneaker culture is a big part of contemporary society, and how we collect kicks like they’re pieces of art. Smoluk’s works also highlight the problem of mass consumption and throwaway culture. For this exhibition, she made her biggest sneaker sculpture yet, using locally collected recycled cardboard of all shapes and sizes.

For booking details and more information on the film programme, please visit the website here. Sneakertopia will run from 25 February to 30 July 2023.