Green Art Asia proudly presents a Malaysian-born prominent artist in Southeast Asia, Kumari Nahappan.
Kumari is celebrated for her iconic installations and sculptures of seeds, pods and fruits that adorn some iconic landmark locations including Saga for Changi Airport, Nutmeg & Mace for the ION Orchard, Pedas-Pedas for the National Museum and Pembungaan for OUE Bayfront (the largest bronze mural in Singapore at over 45m). Her sculptures have graced sites overseas including G Tower in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the J.Y. Campos Centre in Manila (the Philippines), and Chengdu International Finance Square (China) in 2014.
Kumari has received commendations in the Philip Morris ASEAN Art Awards & UOB Painting of the Year. She holds the honour of being the first foreigner and woman to be conferred the Ksatria Seni Award (2004) by the Museum Rudana in Bali. In 2011, she won the Artist of the Year Award in the 15th edition of the Shanghai Art Fair and was identified as a notable female artist in the book Women Artists in Singapore . Recently, she was awarded Singapore Indian Icon of the Year 2014 by Act for Hope organization.
Kumari was invited to show at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel in [2007/8] and at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam . More recently, she has enjoyed critical and popular acclaim for her installation Anahata, a monumental work comprising of 4000kg of saga seeds for the Singapore Biennale 2013. Her works have been exhibited at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Singapore Art Museum, Seoul Art Centre in Korea, Museum Rudana in Indonesia as well as in gallery exhibitions in Sweden, Germany, London, Italy, New York, Australia, Hong Kong and China.
Kumari’s art has three signature components that allow viewers to distinctly identify her works. She has made both red and green chillies into an appealing art form; the colour red plays a significant role in both her paintings and sculptures, and she has also worked extensively with saga seeds.
Chillies. “Chillies only came as a metaphor for high energy. With my paintings, what I was exploring was everything to do with time, space and energy. I was trying to find something that could work with taste. For sound, I could work to convey it with my paintings, and I could do a lot of other emotions, too, with my paintings. But for taste, I stumbled upon chillies—the high uplifting energy symbol. A chilli holds power and energy that despite its humble size—the smaller the chilli, the hotter it is. Yes, I’ve chosen red as my signature colour. It is a very basic colour and we are all joined by that colour, that of blood—it is, therefore, common to all of us, and it is a bond that connects people. When you are in the womb, you are protected by it. Red brings out the idea of protection, the idea of passion—you can make it say everything from anger, love and power. When you see men with red ties, they are actually trying to say that they are powerful and they dare to wear it. It is the one colour that says the maximum in the whole spectrum of colours. I’ve worked on it for many years.”
Saga seeds. “The seeds and pods are a big part of my work, and it so happens that you will see a lot more chillies than the seeds because they (chillies) have a huge family and variety, they are fun, they are all different, they have their own movement, and I find that fascinating. So the chillies ended up growing larger than my seeds and pods. I use all kinds of seeds that are in this region. To me, understanding the texture and the feel of the seeds is so important—they could be so tiny, but could say a lot. What is fascinating is that nature is perfect—it gives you such perfection when you do study the seeds, you feel that there is someone up there that has made it all so perfect, that He has given each seed its own character, its own gravity and texture. I love to capture seeds and keep—not to exhibit, but to admire the perfection that nature gives.”
Kumari invites viewers absorb the power of her works – as passion, protection, connection, energy, power.
For available works, contact us at [email protected]