This following series entitled Artwork Focus is written by Shireen, giving her explorations of the artworks in the Intersection exhibition. Shireen is a writer, art assistant and visual arts organiser, who has gained unique insight through her visits to Nicola’s art studio, observing the creation process of the works. This article focuses particularly on the artwork Call to Prayer.
As you enter this intimate gallery along a row of shophouses on Kandahar Street, an intriguing piece hangs towards the right amongst frames of works. Call to Prayer is an interplay of three mediums – shadows, sound and light. These mediums come together to bring an immersive experience to the viewer as the light and sound transpose onto the birdcage that morphs in the top half to emulate the hemispheric dome of a mosque.
You immediately notice the gold trimmings on the top that evokes a sense of grandeur and allure – a symbolic colour of wealth and affluence – amidst the blue and yellow hues. A visual imagery of the sun and sky at play comes to mind as the viewer is transported to a mystic and spiritual realm echoed by a familiar sound – the Muezzin’s call to prayer.
Drawing on our ideas of daily routines – our constants, rituals and traditions, Call to Prayer is an accompaniment to Marc Nair’s poem of the same name based on Sultan Mosque in Arab Street, Singapore. The work makes references to being guided home “like flocks of birds” to this spiritual realm that many believe exist high in the skies.
A note from Nicola:
For me, birds have a delicate symbolism. Dwelling peacefully within, you might spot a light projection of a Burmese Hintha – which in Buddhism represents spiritual purity and gentleness. You can discover the fluttering rotations of Singapore’s iconic songbirds enclosed in their palace, or hear a chirping chorus which I recorded at sunrise during my travels in Yangon. If you listen closely, you will also recognise the prayer call, recorded at dawn at Sultan Mosque.
The idea of the daily prayer that is comparable to a voluntary routine practiced across different cultures and religions and transcends geographical boundaries, is emphasised through the work’s duality in display – in light and in darkness. Like the journey of the sun from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn, traditions and practices exist in time and are rarely temporal.
The journeys across Singapore and Yangon that have inspired the creation of this work almost mimics the migration of the birds and their rotations inside the birdcage. This work is a reminder for us all: just as we are guided home “like flocks of birds”, our culture and traditions keep us grounded and remind us of our humble beginnings that have helped us shape our identity.
More about this light sculpture:
This artwork is part of a body of work entitled Intersection, created as a collaboration between poet Marc Nair and artist Nicola Anthony. See the full catalogue of visual artworks here. Artworks from the series available for purchase at Intersections Gallery.
INTERSECTION was on show at Intersections Gallery, 34 Kandahar Street Singapore until 12 February and will resume on exhibit from 22 February to 11 March 2017.