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.