Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold

DATE       2019
MEDIUM     Mixed Media Installation

President’s Young Talents Exhibition

4 Oct 2018 – 27 Jan 2019
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

President’s Young Talents Award Finalist

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

Zarina Muhammad on Spirit Histories, Shape-shifting Spaces and The Cultural Biographies of Things︎︎︎

Object Lessons Space

Of Soils and Scars︎︎︎

by Grace Icnacia See
The Artling

Digging Deep for Inspiration︎︎︎

by Melissa Sim
The Straits Times
Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold takes the penunggu or ‘guardian at the gate’ as its departure point and charts out a space that traverses beyond the physical. The installation is laid out as three distinct divisions that serve as the hills, land and sea of Bukit Larangan, Bras Basah, as well as Kallang and the coastal areas of Singapore, respectively. Within each designation are a selection of material objects and modes of presentation that reflect and respond to the history, culture and memories of the zones they are housed in. These objects act as coordinates in which to map the histories and paths that the spirits of these realms may have resided and roamed in. Historic and mythic, Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold aims to, in the artist’s words, “disrupt and irrupt time and move beyond the single narrative of place.
Conceived as an installation that will unfold and shapeshift with seven gestural and performative activations through the months, ‘Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold’ is intended to bring the audience into a convergence and dialogue with Austronesian cosmologies, the cultural biographies of objects, sites and communities, and the various points of forgetting between the pre-colonial and the post-colonial.

In de/re-narrating entangled speculative histories as well as inviting the counterpoints, extended potentialities and possible antidotes to our culture of forgetting, how might we remediate the inter-regional and inter-generational narratives of the mythic and the spectral, the worlds of the living, the forgotten and the dead? How many numinous spirits are left in our midst? Who stands, sits, crouches, watches from the threshold?