Spicing Up The Art World

Also known as “The Chilli Lady”, award-winning artist Kumari Nahappan’s larger-than-life sculptures are an ode to nature’s perfection

photos copyright@2019 studio k pte ltd
words sabrina lee
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Taking a stroll down Orchard Road, one cannot miss Nutmeg & Mace, a two-tonne bronze sculpture by local artist Kumari Nahappan. This piece is of particular significance as it got its name from the nutmeg and fruit orchards that were once in the area before they were cleared. Both nutmeg and mace represent the lucrative herbs and spices that made Singapore and the region an important historical trading hub.

Nutmeg & Mace is only one of Nahappan’s many signature installations and sculptures. They are mainly of seeds, pods and fruits that currently adorn some of the most iconic landmarks in Singapore. From the giant chilli pepper at the National Museum of Singapore, Pembungaan at OUE Bayfront and the Saga sculpture at Changi Airport, Nahappan is easily one of Singapore’s most recognised artists.

The soft-spoken artist was born in Klang, Selangor in 1953. She studied interior design in London during the mid 70s. Upon moving back to Malaysia, she taught history of art, and architecture and design at the School of Architecture, Planning and Surveying at ITM in Shah Alam, Selangor for seven years. This was followed by an eight-year successful space planning stint where she designed the interiors of corporate entities like offices and banks.

Follow the traits of Kumari Nahappan’s art in Nov-Jan issue of little.