Archives & Desires: Selections from the Mohammad Din Mohammad Collection
NUS Museum 50 Kent Ridge Crescent University Cultural Centre National University of Singapore 21 August - 23 November 2008
Curator: Shabbir Hussain Mustafa
The exhibition Archives & Desires explores aspects of modern Southeast Asian art and museological discourse through the life and works of late artist Mohammad Din Mohammad (1955-2007). Mohammad Din was born in Malacca and received his art training at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts where he graduated from in 1976. A student of Sufism, Mohammad Din’s paintings and sculptures are also heavily influenced by his life long practice as a Silat Guru, traditional healer and his extensive travels across Southeast Asia. (…)
Over the span of a professional artistic career that lasted four decades, he and his wife, artist Hamidah Jalil also collected different Southeast Asian artifacts ranging from Malay Kris’ to rare coins and textiles. The walls and cabinets of Mohammad Din’s home in Singapore attest to the magnanimity and depth of the collection. Many of the collected objects were used in his sculptures, which vividly celebrate the eclectic cultural heritage of Southeast Asia. As such, based on extensive ethnographic work conducted at the artist’s homes in Singapore and Malacca, the exhibition at NUS Museum unravels the intricate relationship between the powerful position modern museums occupy in terms of ‘archiving cultures’, be they western or non-western ones and the politics of Mohammad’s private collection which seemingly lies beyond the decorum of a modern museum.
The exhibition brings together Mohammad Din’s paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, traditional healing materials and collectibles into one space.