ION is one of the most visited shopping malls in Singapore. In front of it stands a two-tonne sculpture of an open nutmeg.
Artist Kumari Nahappan is also known as the Giant Chilli Lady because she has made so many art of chilli in recent years, and she says the bronze fruit in Singapore’s shopper’s paradise links the site’s past and present. It stands at a crossroad where there was once a nutmeg plantation.
“The idea was that it should not just be a nutmeg, but an open nutmeg, which was important as it is the only fruit that contains two spices: mace and nutmeg,” says the 63-year-old artist. “The symbolism also related to the fact that two companies, CapitaLand and Sun Hung Kai Properties, collaborated in the building of ION.”
She’s gotten many awards, including an Artist of the Year Award at the 15th Shanghai Art Fair in 2011, where she showed a pair of 6.3-metre chillis dancing the tango.
She was born in Malaysia, educated in London and Australia, and has been living in Singapore for more than two decades. She says the chilli has inspired her work in several ways.
“I wanted to explore the metaphor of energy in taste. The chilli has the most amount of energy and it’s also connected to our culture. So it was a concept that just grew bigger and bigger,” she says.
“The chilli is one fruit that can make you cry, laugh and make all sorts of expressions, it has so much power and energy — and it creates a lot of impact.”
Her other works include a 48-metre-by-7.5-metre mural of sliced chillis in Singapore’s financial district, and a giant saga seed at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Read more about Kumari and her works here https://art.capitaland.com/artists/kumari-nahappan/nutmeg-mace
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