A Presentation by Proxy

A Presentation by Proxy

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This was a 20 minute presentation at the panel discussion event "Grounded Conversations", which marked the launch of the book "Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You? / Sila Mengkanibalkan Kami MahuTak Erika Tan", edited by Erika Tan in 2014.

Speaking remotely, out of time and place, mediated digitally, the figure of Halimah Binti Abdulla (an expert weaver who arrived in London from Malaya in 1924 to participate in the Malayan Pavilion in The Empire Exhibition) speaks for the absence of her author, the editor of the book and the maker of the works exhibited in the exhibition. She informs the audience of her new collaboration with the artist Erika Tan, and the nature of her work and life within the Empire Exhibition where she both lived and worked and eventually contracted pneumonia. Halima Binti Abdulla died in London and was buried within the Muslim section of Brookwood Cemetery. Her 'story' remains dispersed fragments within the footnotes of colonial history. Her grave is unmarked, her origins are contestable, she could however be seen as Singapore's first female cultural ambassador. This history is the basis of the artists' future collaborations.

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Tan, Erika

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