Not Terra Nullius

DATE       2019
MEDIUM     Mixed Media Installation, Participatory Performance

Fantastic Beasts and Man- Eating Flowers, OH! Open House Emerald Hill

3 March — 25 March 2018

The Artists’ Colony: A Review of OH! Emerald Hill︎︎︎

by Ng Yi-Sheng
Arts Equator

Making Space for the Ghaib (Unseen)︎︎︎

by Syaheedah Iskandar
Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, Volume 3, Number 2, October 2019

Whose Land: Examining Claims to Sand and Memory?︎︎︎

by Cheng Mun Chang
Art Asia Pacific
Spirit propitiation and ritual practices commemorating ancestral and guardian spirits have historically constituted an important social activity in the region. One of the key intentions of this work is to consider our current day relationship to the land, the otherworldly, to the seen and unseen? The Balinese concept of ‘Sekala Niskala’ refers to the understanding that what is unseen is given equal importance as the seen, and that realities are contingent, arguably multifaceted and culturally conceived.

Conceived as an installation that unfolded through the weeks with gestural, participatory and performative activations, a series of merti rituals were conducted, namely for the comfort women who were kept at 37 Emerald Hill during the time of war, as well as for the forgotten spirits of the land. 
Merti is short or memerti, which in Javanese means to 'take care of' or 'maintain'. The Merti ritual is one of many traditional Javanese rituals that make the connection between humans, natural resources, and supernatural entities. The essence of these rituals is a tribute to nature, expressions of gratitude to the creator, and praying for the preservation of natural resources and the wellbeing of people.

This installation-performance explored ideas pertaining to sacred and culturally mediated landscapes, cosmologically interconnected sites and the often-times anachronistic amalgamations of precolonial constructions, colonial intrusions and modern dayreimaginings /omissions of these narratives.