Artist Nandita Mukand shares how communicating with the natural world has had a profound impact not only on her artistic practice, but also in enabling her to find the strength and clarity to set aside a traditionally coveted corporate career and pursue her dream of being a full-time artist. In the process she builds an understanding of why contemporary society is losing touch with Nature and why maintaining this connection is more critical now than ever before. Nandita Mukand is a Singapore-based Indian born artist. She is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and has a degree in Electronics Engineering from Lucknow University, India. But soon she realized that her real passion was not in engineering but art. According to her, Art and Nature are important disciplines that bind together in her art. Her spectacular work was most recently exhibited at OpenArt 2017,Orebro Biennale in Sweden and Imaginarium: To the ends of the Earth at 8Q Singapore Art Museum. Nandita Mukand is a Singapore-based Indian born artist whose practice encompasses sculpture, installation and painting. Her works deal with Nature and Materiality, exploring themes of connection and spirituality from in an urban context. It is the concatenation of city-dwellers and the natural world. Nandita’s spectacular work was most recently exhibited at OpenArt 2017, Orebro Biennale in Sweden and Imaginarium: To the ends of the Earth at 8Q Singapore Art Museum. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
“Forest Weft, City Warp” is an exhibition showcasing Nandita’s latest body of work of three-dimensional paintings. These new works stem from her tradition of painting, the weft of which she has warped into a medium of her own invention. Using everyday materials – fabric, wax, thread, paint, wool, rope, and plastic – Nandita explores the poetics of space in the three-dimensional paintings, inspired by nature and its essential role in the built city landscape.
This new body of work deals with nature and materiality, exploring themes of connection and spirituality within an urban context. In these sculptural paintings, on which she has been working for the past two years, Nandita utilises a variety of materials including cloth, the interwoven threads of which signifies how urban life today is intertwined and connected through myriad means. The actions of a city dweller directly affects not only the rest of the city and its population but also nature.
Not only does material matter, the process of art-making plays an important role in this discussion of nature – the different layers are laboriously handmade. The forms and textures of her work are often created by moulding the material to the bones of her hand – the traces of the human body become forms resembling flowers, corals, and fungal growth. It is the combination of material and process that weaves the cosmic fabric together.
Excerpt from the OpenART 2017, Sweden Biennale catalogue
The catalogue shares some of the stories behind the flowers that were contributed for my installation "Blossom Flourish Wither Perish"
"....Used items carry memories. They have a history, some more clear than others, says Kerstin Wagner, assistant curator, and then shares a special story.
A woman came to the office at Kopmangatan and dropped off an IKEA bag filled with dried flowers. The flowers turned out to be gifts from her late husband and other gifts.
The woman had a hard time separating herself from the flowers, but when she knew that an artist would be able to use them, it made the whole process easier.She brought her bridal bouquet in and asked if we wanted that as well.
The woman Kerstin talks about is Lena Wickberg and when she heard Open Art was collecting flowers, she decided to donate her own collection. Lena started collecting flowers when she and her husband moved in together in the late 1980s. On top of a blue cabinet she put flowers from birthday parties, some of which she had grown in the garden of her country house, and gifts. When they moved to a new apartment, the cabinet and the flowers came along with them and slowly, but surely, the collection grew.
They are getting more and more fragile and of course drier by the day, but they are amazingly beautiful, especially the roses, says Lena.
In September, it will be two years since her husband passed away and Lena started thinking about what she would do with the apartment, and with the flowers when she heard about OpenArt needing flowers.
The flowers have such a sentimental value to me that it felt great to be able to give them to the art instead of throwing them in the bin, Lena says. There's hardly anything left of my bridal bouquet from my first marriage; it's mostly just wires and a few roses and corn flowers- they get very fragile when you dry them- so I am very excited to see what the artist can do with them.
Lena, who paints with watercolors herself, believes the connection to art through the donations is very important to the people of Orebro. Art should be close to people who otherwise might not get the chance, can actually meet the art. Lena says that she is very inspired by the fantastic ideas the artists have and that they inspire people to be creative and even a little crazy..."
"mʌlti is an exhibition featuring the artists Christopherson Ho (Singapore), Jamie Tan (Singapore), Kyung Sun Jun (Korea), Lam Yau Sum (Hong Kong/China), Lijie Ong (Singapore), Martha Chaudhry (U.S.A/Singapore), Nandita Mukand (India/Singapore), and Wei Li Leow (Singapore). The works presented traverse a multitude of media, exploring the reciprocal relationship between content and form. Medium functions to transpose ephemeral thought into corporeal vessels, giving expression tangibility. Yet its purpose is far more than auxiliary; each material has a signature of its own and dictates content as much as it is dictated by content. Whatever their medium of choice, each artist’s practice is underscored by the same desire for self-expression. The works in this exhibition have been crafted in a plethora of mediums, both traditional and contemporary; juxtaposed so, a conversation between the materiality of each medium is sparked."
A painting, a life, a process.
The allure of abstraction lies in finding more and more of me on the painted surface. Vulnerable, true. Every mark on the canvas, like an event that leaves its trace on the painted surface -does it complement the ones that came before or does it go so far beyond that it makes them redundant? So many get painted over in subsequent layers, others are allowed to show through. But when a painting is done it is still only a link to the next one. Each painting is but an event in the ongoing saga.
Honored to be a part of The Visual Arts Development Association of Singapore (VADA) inaugural exhibition of UNTAPPED EMERGING. The exhibition featured 9 up-and-coming, Singapore-based artists, hand-picked by the UNTAPPED Advisory Committee consisting of Boo Sze Yang, Martin Constable, Adeline Kueh and Dr Bridget Tracy Tan. It was a pleasure to exhibit with Yanyun Chen, Prakash Haridas, Jodi Tan, Leonard Yang, Yeo Tze Yang, Tay Inning, Ryan Benjamin Lee, Danielle Tay.
Many thanks to the Patrons Ian Dunderdale, Angie Chan and Nick Davies, Terence C W Lim, Mr and Mrs Jimmy Phoon, Will Rathvon, SIO Tat Hiang.
My residency at the Fundacio L'Olivar in Catalonia was not only an opportunity to focus on my art making but also to deeply experience the natural world. Being surrounded by plants, trees, birds and insects always does wonders for my creative process and this time was no exception. Long walks and sketching in the forests and meadows surrounding the residency opened up many new ideas and avenues to explore in my work.
A refurbished shophouse along Petain Road served as an apt site for the contemplation & interrogation of the nature of the past – more specifically, a wistful view of the past.
The rare chance to exhibit with 20 of Singapore's most exciting emerging voices in contemporary art within a single venue made this show one I will always remember with my own blend of nostalgia . From drawings to photography, installations to performance art, there was something to be discovered in every nook & corner.
Given the innate psychological need for stability, nostalgia offers an alluring coping mechanism in the face of ever-accelerating changes. The proliferation of nostalgia-oriented commercial enterprises as well as urgent questions about the past, our experience & relationship to it dominating Singapore's artistic discourse are but responses to this oft-overwhelming situation.
Repurposing Nostalgia was a showcase of various artistic strategies in co-opting or challenging the nostalgic phenomenon. This diversity also reflected on how the show grew from ground up, with friends roping in friends or acquaintances through face-to-face meetings, texts, emails & social media (this post is adapted from the exhibition text)
I exhibited the work "Connections" at this show
Nandita Mukand is a Singapore-based artist. Her work deals with the relationship with Nature and spirituality from within the contemporary urban context. She employs materiality to question the impact urban life has on our experience of time and the meaning we give to our own existence.