Lingkaran Kenangan, 2024

V.S.S. Varusai Mohamed & Sons

V.S.S. Varusai Mohamed and Sons was founded in 1924. Yet its goods — pilgrimage and Muslim necessities such as the money belt, frankincense, and prayer beads — have remained virtually unchanged.

In this installation, items like tasbih (prayer beads) and attar (perfume oils) are embedded in soil layers reminiscent of archaeological layers. They are arranged in the context of their use in relation to the practice of Muslim faith. For the artist, these objects are revered because they form an unbroken thread to their origins. Faith, rituals, and traditions are not reducible to material objecthood and cannot be easily separated and decontextualised (in contrast to archaeological and heritage practices that often isolate objects that conform to particular narratives).

Beyond faith and tradition, objects are also intertwined with the personal experiences of the family across generations. The artist makes a passport for Mr Varusai containing various travel documents. It is a retrospective journey for the founder of V.S.S., who helped thousands go to Mecca but regrettably could not go himself. For the third-generation owner, Fauzia, an empty fragrance bottle labelled “Kampung Spirit” is a bittersweet interpretation of the neighbourhood.


NEO_ARTEFACTS (b.1993, Singapore) is an experimental initiative by Fazleen Karlan that looks into the intersection of art and archaeology. Drawing on Fazleen’s past experiences as a post-excavation technician, NEO_ARTEFACTS brings together fragments of material culture from different timeframes through installation-based works that reflect on personal and cultural realities.

NEO_ARTEFACTS has presented in several group exhibitions in Singapore including Time Passes, National Gallery Singapore (2020) and a solo presentation d3ar succ3ss0r at Esplanade Community Wall (2022). She was an Artist-in-Residence with NTU Centre for Contemporary Art from April to August 2022.


Found objects embedded in concrete, paper pulp, dye, and white glue; zine; empty perfume bottle
Dimensions variable

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