The Covenant, 2016
Treated aluminium sheets, strips, rivets & wire cable, Jawi text, stainless steel wire mesh and nylon thread
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Sharmiza rereads and re-enacts two stories from the Malay Annals, a keystone of Malay literature, to re-examine some of the Malays’ traditional values and practices. The episode of the covenant highlights the solemn oath made between Malay rulers and their subjects, while the tale of the swordfish attacks revolves around Hang Nadim, who saved Singapore from the attacks but was unjustly murdered by his king. The work comprises a throne and a chair, the text of the covenant in Jawi, and an assemblage of swordfish sculptures. While the latter cast a haunting interplay of shadows, the throne and the chair – symbolising, respectively, the ruler and the people – face each other, as if in dialogue with the past, and also reflecting present political tensions between the two.