The Current/s We Call Home – Arus Berlabuh Kita (2018)
by Kabul (Indonesia) and Mintio (Singapore)
Not because of laziness but because of lack of knowledge in the contemporary arts, I found this artwork in the Asian Civilisations Museum. The work is of sails with images of children from Singapore and Indonesia on them; made of wood and bark fibre from banana trees which are common to both countries.
It is inspired by the song Dayung Sampan, which was a popular folk song in both Singapore and Indonesia.
Personally, I feel that this engagement with the premodern in terms of materials and motifs evokes a sense of simplicity and historical richness in our cultural interactions of the past. It reminds me of trade – of resources, luxury goods, innovation, and religion. The images of children evoke a sense of innocence that came along with the interactions; one with no discrimination or prejudice. Migrant workers, to my knowledge, in Singapore have had a bad reputation for stealing jobs and opportunities and perhaps this work is trying to enlighten the viewers; to bring us back to our roots; to learn the positive examples of our past.