Mamakan, the artist during a "meet-the-artist" session at National Museum of Singapore, May 2017

Mamakan, the artist during a "meet-the-artist" session at National Museum of Singapore, May 2017

 

Story

Mamakan is a botanical artist exploring historical and contemporary culture.

Her artistic practice uses photography and installations around our relationship with plants, especially edible plants, at the most intimate level: the admiration, love, destruction or dysfunction. 

By exploring different aspects of botanicals through interactive and immersive art experiences, we discover new connections with nature, our senses, ourselves and each other.

Her last exhibition was "Treasure Island' at National Museum of Singapore, which through an interactive botanical wall and a 24-panel visual artwork titled "Nothing on Earth grows in Heaven, Maybe" explores 88 botanicals inspired by William Farquhar and Nathaniel Wallich, pioneering naturalists from the early colonial days of South and Southeast Asia.

In 2016, she was the initiator of  the"GastroGeography of Singapore" exhibition, a Singapore Biennale 2016 parallel project, together with other artists, botanists, biologists and several volunteers, . Through two interactive exhibitions at WOWhaus and Fort Canning, GastroGeography questioned the status of belonging in an urbanized environment.

In recent years, Mamakan studied fine arts and art history at LASALLE College of the Arts. In 2009, she curated the "Sustainable Design by Qi Global" exhibitions at the National Museum of Singapore and the former Supreme Court - now National Gallery Singapore.

A few years later, she worked with Michelin star chef Andre Chiang on "Rainforest Cuisine", an art/food/sustainability initiative. The Southeast Asian haze crisis of 2015 propelled her energy into a series of drawings and talks under the theme of "Tree of Life".

Born in Aarhus, Denmark in 1971, her global journey has taken her from Brazil to Europe to Asia, back to Europe and then back to Asia. Her sense of adventure has paved an unorthodox way through fashion and luxury industries,  charity and social entrepreneurship, from modelling over trend forecasting to management consulting for some of the world's biggest food companies before returning full-time to art. 

In a past life, she was the embodiment of the restless cosmopolite, with a horizontal network that traversed the entire globe. It came to a point where she found herself stretched too thin, and she knew then that what she had to do was to ground down and discover her roots.

Mamakan was born out of this impulse in 2014. It is a synthesis of three words: “Mama,” for mother nature, and “makan", for the act of eating and also, home. How can we grow roots, if we never eat from the soil? By sensing the plants that are rooted in the places we live, we can hope—even if it is only temporary—to internalize their sense of gravity and connectedness.

Mamakan is living in Singapore with her husband of Indonesian/Chinese/Dutch descent and their three children in a shophouse on Niven Road, coincidentally named after the first superintendent of the Singapore Botanical Gardens. 

 

Biography

1971 Born in Aarhus, Denmark.

 

2017

Solo Exhibition:

Treasure Island, National Museum of Singapore, 28 April to 25 June. Public interventions: Treasure Trails, National Museum of Singapore, 27 May to 18 June.

 

Expeditions:

Leuser Eco-System and National Park, North Sumatra, August 

 

Events:

ROD, National Museum of Singapore, 23 June 

Mamakan for The Performance Theatre, National Museum of Singapore, 15 June

BOTANICA, Duxton Park, 19 May

Pecha Kucha, National Museum of Singapore, 7 May

 

Group Works:

GastroGeography of Singapore, National Parks Board (NParks), Galleri Nila, 4 March to 14 May. 

An Afternoon of Art & Food, Singapore Art Museum (SAM), 18 February.

 

Contributor to: 

70 x 7 The Meal Act XL by Studio Orta, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Gillman Barracks, 20 January.

 

2016

Group Exhibition:

GastroGeography of Singapore, Mamakan Art Collective, WOWhaus and Fort Canning, Singapore Biennale 2016, 27 October 2017 to 26 February 2017.

 

2015

Talks:

Tree of Life, a collection of drawings, Royal Danish Embassy, SIM University, Singapore Management University (SMU). September 2015 to March 2016. 

 

2014

Talks:

MAMAKAN, a moment of epiphany, Istana, Singapore, June to September.  

 

2011-2012

Public Interventions:

Urban Eco-Warriors, Borneo and Singapore, June. 

Rainforest Cuisine by Kristine Oustrup Laureijs and Andre Chiang, November 2011 to June 2012. 

 

2010

Curatorial Show:

Sustainable Design by Qi Global, Former Supreme Court Building (Now Singapore Gallery), December and National Museum of Singapore, October

 

Recent Press

 

2017

Torch Ginger Petals are edible (in Chinese) by Tan Ying Zhen for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore, 7 May. Download.

DISCOVERING THE CREATIVE NATURE OF MAMAKAN by Creative Sparq, 21 July. Download

Hidden Treasures on Our Island by Minister Khaw Boon Wan, 24 June. Download

SUSTAINABILITY and Ignite Curiosity by Melissa Teo for National Geographic, 12 June

Laksa Leaf made in Italy (in Chinese) by Tan Ying Zhen for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore, 7 May. Download

Noni fruit: hidden treasure (in Chinese) by Tan Ying Zhen for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore, 7 May. Download

Hungry? Singapore is an edible Garden City by Jose Hong for Straits Times, Singapore, 25 March. Download cover and continued.

Wild eating in the garden city by Tan Ying Zhen for Japan Times, 24 March

Outdoor Foraging. 100 Kinds of Local Edible Plants (in Chinese) by Tan Ying Zhen for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore 26 February.

 

2016

The foragers of Singapore: how to find edible plants growing wild and the foods and drinks to make from them by Juliana Loh for South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 23 December. Download

In the Drawer by cubes magazine, Interiors, Architecture, Design. December/January. Download.