Kumari Nahappan is a prominent artist in Southeast Asia; her practice encompasses inter-disciplinary genres, painting, sculpture and installations. She has forged a reputation for effectively reconciling the language of “international contemporary art” with her own vocabulary and developing a visual identity that is decisively shaped by her cultural roots and beliefs.
Kumari is celebrated for her iconic sculptures in landmark locations in Singapore, China, Malaysia and The Philippines. She has received many commendations throughout her artistic journey, inside and outside Singapore – This includes Artist of the Year Award in the 15th edition of the Shanghai Art Fair for her Happy Tango installation. She was also identified as a notable female artist in the book Women Artists in Singapore .
Kumari’s works have been exhibited internationally, including at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Seoul Art Centre in Korea, Museum Rudana in Bali, Museum der Kulturen in Basel and Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. In 2013, she enjoyed critical and popular acclaim for her installation Anahata, a monumental work comprising of 4000kg of saga seeds for the Singapore Biennale 2013.
In 2014, her monograph, kumari nahappan: FLUXION - Art & Thoughts, written by Art historian T.K. Sabapathy was published. The publication spans over 20 years of the artist’s creative practice featuring drawings, paintings, installations, studio-based sculpture and public art. In her recent exhibition, CHANTING: ROSARY at ANIMA MUNDI International Art Festival in Venice, Italy (2017), Kumari explored the rituals, iconography, and gestures related to ‘the spiritual’ through letting 59 giant fibre-glass saga seeds form a rosary bead throughout Palazzo Ca’Zanardi. In 2018, the ‘journey of the saga’ continued, where 30 of her saga seeds found a permanent home at The Sanchaya, Bintan, Indonesia through the installation Ode To Thirty.
Artist Statements / Quotes
“I have always tried to bring up the conceptual and the symbolic qualities that I believe are unique to the cultural fabric in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Inevitably, my works are the fruition of my own personal experience in this part of the world, the cultural melting pot and its heritage.”
“Constant flux, continuity and the need to evolve are at the basis of everything we do in our daily lives – be it art, science, technology or business. For me, they each, consist of rituals…”
“What you see are fragments that are continuously evolving. They are visions that connect to a larger cosmic body. It could be a heartbeat – a rhythm, a movement, flow, time, journey, growth, history and eternity…”