RSS / Seed of a Nation

  • Seed of a Nation, Venice Bienale 2022

Seed of a Nation, Venice Bienale 2022

The very concept of a nation, with a focus on creating an essential difference through the construction of race, language and borders, is destructive. These divisions and modes of categorisation contradict both historical evidence and scientific inquiry that suggests distinguished biological races do not exist. Genealogical studies and the “Out of Africa” theories instead prove that these constructs are superficial and are raised to counter the commonalities of human existence.

For this latest installation, for the 59th Venice Bienale : Seed of a Nation, she explores the dichotomy of abundance and scarcity that exists within the fabric of life itself. Rejecting the notion of geopolitical borders, she hopes to weave an existence of inclusivity that is inspired by nature, encouraging humanity to embrace and celebrate human differences.

Using seeds and grains to symbolise the diversity of humanity, Singh lays handmade grains in terracotta, black, yellow and white clay at the base of the scroll. Embedded in the 6 by 2.5 meter canvas are sterling silver and 18k gold grains. These grains highlight a sharp contrast in the struggle between abundance and hunger, the destructive nature of constructed superficial human differences, and the wrecking of plentiful natural produce through global avarice and mismanagement.

Fractal like repetitive compositions, grains have become central to Singh’s work and are the basis of her artistic and spiritual practice. With a deep respect for the organic, and striking implementation of colour and technique, layers of surfaces ultimately give way to reveal something with greater emotion and understanding. Nothing is ever truly lost; even if it can no longer be seen, it is hiding just below the surface.

In fully appreciating the breadth of Singh’s practice, on must consider her quest for understanding human consciousness – our very existence as transient beings, and both our physical and spiritual place within the universe. Creating becomes an act of meditation, observing and reflecting on nature and the sounds of the world around her. Through this transcendental act, the observer affects the observed reality.

No painting is ever finished, in the same way that nature is everchanging. It grows and collapses, repeating, transforming and growing time and time again. Look at a landscape, and you may think nothing has changed; yet buds emerge, foliage matures and flowers wilt as the next begins to blossom. Look below the surface and you will find a rich tapestry of life that pulsates with the rhythm of the natural world.

Through Seed of a Nation, Singh examines the human condition and its dependency on the natural world, capturing the balance between great power and vulnerability. Within the grain she finds a universal language; the language of food, hunger and that or abundance. It is a language that needs no explanation, the oldest language in the world. Yet crucially, the all-encompassing totality of the grain is focal here in reminding us that despite all contradictions, we are one.