Ahmad Abu Bakar and Suriani Suratman: Tanah Air (Homeland)

Ahmad Abu Bakar and Suriani Suratman: Tanah Air (Homeland)


Opening DayTuesday, 25 October 2016
Guest of HonourJane Ittogi, Chair of Singapore Art Museum
Period26 October - 23 December 2016
Location 51 Waterloo,

In conjunction with the Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors, The Private Museum is proud to present Ahmad Abu Bakar & Suriani Suratman: Tanah Air (Homeland)—the first collaboration between visual artist Ahmad Abu Bakar and ceramic artist Suriani Suratman, in which they explore the theme of Tanah (Land) & Air (Water) and its significance to the notion of homeland. The exhibition features a new body of clay works where the artists share a dialogue on the prominence of the natural elements, Tanah and Air.

Ahmad explores the nuances of homeland, expressing his relationship with the land as a component of his identity and embracing it as an inherited gift. His series of three distinct bodies of works, fittingly titled Tanah Ku Sayang, hints at his affection for his adopted motherland where he looks into the complexity of identifying with land in relation to nationality. Suriani addresses the importance and necessity of water in the form of rain and river—the primary source of life and creation. Her works interpret the expression tadah tangan—to cup the hand and contain—and examines expression in movement as a symbolic suggestion of one rejoicing when the rain comes.

Their probe into the interplay of Tanah and Air is an attempt to uncover the allure of the semantic duality of homeland. Through the use of clay as a unified medium of artistic expression, the exhibition reflects the artists’ exploration of the shared historical origins of the region and the conception of Homeland as a mirror to their identities drawing parallel with An Atlas of Mirrors.

Programme Documentation

Programme Media

About the Collaboration


Ahmad Abu Bakar (b. 1963) is a Singapore-based installation artist originally from Malacca, Malaysia. A graduate from Lasalle College of the Arts (1989), Ahmad furthered his studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia under the study grant from the National Arts Council (1995). Upon his return, Ahmad pursued his Master of Fine Arts with RMIT/Lasalle (2001). Ahmad has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions internationally which includes China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea and Australia. His accolades include Merit Award of the IBM Art Award (1990), Arts Award of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1998), Outstanding Artistic Creativity, Singapore Turf Club Art Competition (1999).


2001 (RMIT) – LaSalle-SIA of the Arts, Singapore) Master of Fine Arts
1995 Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
1989 East Ham College of Art, United Kingdom

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Siri OBJEK & OBJEKTIF, Chan Hampe Galleries, Singapore
2012 Tanah ini Aku Punya, Jendela Visual Art Space Esplanade, Singapore

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Secret Archipelago, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France  These Sacred Things, Jendela Visual Art Space Esplanade, Singapore
2014 Budi Daya, Malay Heritage Centre, Singapore
Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale #3, Gallery National Indonesia, Jakarta
2013 Singapore Biennale 2013, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
2012 Nami Island International Pottery Festival, Seoul, Korea
2011 Singapore Sculpture Society 10th Anniversary Exhibition, National Library, Singapore
2010 Mungyeong Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, Korea
2009 Passion in Clay, the Artrium, MICA Building, Singapore
2008 8Q-Rate: School, 8Q Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
2007 3rd Asian Ceramics Network and Selius 2007, National Art Gallery Malaysia
Passion in Clay, Shanghai, China
2006 2nd Asian Ceramics Network Exhibition, Silpakorn University, Bangkok Thailand
2005 The WAHANA, Vargas Gallery, University of Philippines, Philippines
1st Asian Ceramics Network, Craft Culture Design Innovation Center, Korea
2003 Sculpture Biennale Symposium, Plastic Kinetic Worms Gallery and NIE, NTU, Singapore
Work in Progress – The Power Show, Singapore Sculpture Society, The Substation, Singapore
2002 PAST, PRESENT, BEYOND: Re-nascence of an Art Collection, NUS Museum, Singapore
New Sculpture Millennium: The First International Miniature Sculpture Exhibition, National Museum of History, Taiwan
2001 Nokia Singapore Art 2001, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1999 Provocative Things – A 3-Dimensional Experience in Singapore, Sculpture Square, Singapore
Cartblanche, Alliance Grancais’ Gallery, Singapore
1998 Perak Arts Festival, Perak Malaysia
1996 Modernity and Beyond, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1995 From Another Place, University of Tasmania Gallery, Australia
1994 Prefx Point Travelling Show, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore and Creative Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1992 Vision IV, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
Bread and Butter Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1991 National Sculpture Seminar, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1990 Australian Art Award, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore


2010 Very Special Award, 2010 Ulsan International Onggi Competition
1999 Outstanding Artistic Creativity, Singapore Turf Club Art Competition
1998 Arts Award, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI)
1990 Merit Award, IBM Art Award


Dr. Suriani Suratman (b. 1959) is a Singaporean potter and an active member of the Jalan Behar Clay Studios. Suratman received the tutelage of master ceramist, Iskandar Jalil since 2001 and has held her first solo exhibition in 2013. Her works have been showcased in numerous group exhibitions at local institutions such as the Japanese Creative Centre (2013), National Technology University Museum (2013) and the Malay Heritage Centre (2008). Suratman’s works has also been commissioned by various governmental and corporate organizations which include Ministry of Law (2012), Singapore International Foundation (2009), National Heritage Board – Patron of the Year Award (2007) and Temasek Holdings (2003).

Solo Exhibition

2013 Alam – a pottery exhibition by Suriani Suratman, ART2 Gallery, Singapore

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Tribute to Local Clay: A Pottery Exhibition, Maya Gallery, Singapore
2013 Iskandar Jalil Ceramics Exhibition – A lifelong Passion for his craft and his teaching, Japan Creative Centre, Singapore
Bank Art Fair, with Maya Gallery, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
éncore! (Maya Gallery’s 1st Anniversary), Maya Gallery, Singapore
Firing a passion: History and Pottery Practices in Singapore, NTU Museum, Singapore
2008 Inspirations from Kampung Gelam, Malay Heritage Centre, Singapore
2007 Pots, Pipes and other Pieces, in conjunction with the Singapore Art Show, National Library, Singapore
2006 Starting with Clay …, ART2 Gallery, Singapore
3rd Ngee Ann 3D Art Exhibition, Ngee Ann Cultural Centre, Singapore
Opening of Jalan Bahar Clay Studios Exhibition, Singapore
2005 Ceramivitiy – The Third Statement, NUS Centre for the Arts, Singapore
2nd Ngee Ann 3D Art Exhibition, Ngee Ann Cultural Centre, Singapore
2003 Discovery Phase, ART2 Gallery, Singapore
2002 Ceramitivity – The Second Statement, NUS Centre for the Arts, Singapore


2015 National Technology University, Singapore
2012 Ministry of Law, Singapore
2009 Singapore International Foundation
2007 National Heritage Board, Patron of the Year Award, Singapore
2006 The Sentosa Resort and Spa, Singapore
2003 Temasek Holdings, Singapore

Programme Outreach

Programme Publication