Unwalked Boundaries, 2016
Mixed media: metal hooks, metallic headband and etching on ceramic boards
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Building on Chandrasekaran’s exploration of body and identity, this installation – in the form of “an intention to walk” – focuses on the thousands of Indian convicts who, from 1825 to 1873, were transported to Singapore and served their sentence as manual labourers. The installation consists of a metallic headband that bears the artist’s national registration identity card (NRIC) number, a set of six hooks, and a road map etched onto ceramic boards. These are preparatory materials for a walk-performance in the Bras Basah-Bugis area – Singapore’s cultural and heritage precinct, and also the former location of the convict prison. The objects lie in a glass reliquary, waiting to serve as accessories for the artist, who would personify a nineteenth-century Indian convict. They point to the artist’s intended role as embodied conscience, highlighting the awkward gaps in Singapore history where the convicts’ contributions have been long overlooked.