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not terra nullius (2018)


In Latin, terra nullius means ‘land belonging to no one.’ Singapore was no terra nullius. It’s history does not begin with its ‘modern founding’ in the 19th century.

In this work, the artist invited audiences to participate in an old, Javanese ritual called merti (meaning “take care of” or “maintain”). She asked - what does this land mean to you?

Nearby, the artist displayed hand-made spirit houses and shrines, where participants left their offerings. These served to remember the spirits of the land who previously occupied or passed through 37 Emerald Hill in the last few centuries. The also acted as bird and butterfly feeders, a small connection with other occupants of the land.

Created with the support of: Tini Aliman Irfan Kasban

Artist:
Zarina Muhammad

Performers:
Zarina Muhammad Sharmeen / Sifar

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