Mixed Media installation; batik, unbleached cotton shroud, wax, sandalwood chips, straw, agarwood, incense, clay, paper, ink, benzoin resin, snakeskin, hair, turmeric and sandalwood, spices

Video: Single-channel on screen, 16.9 format, colour, 7 min

Talismans for
Peculiar Habitats

What stories do we tell of final rites, of peculiar phantoms, of ruined/renewed landscapes of isolation/belonging, of time and the chaos of crossing thresholds we might be unfamiliar with? What are the ways to gently observe anyone who has transitioned to other worlds on their own (terms) or the spectres estranged from their bloodline of ancestors?

Talismans for Peculiar Habitats comprises personal mementoes, handwritten notes, sculptural works, effigies, shrouds, talismanic textiles, trays of offerings and other ritually performed gestures. Alongside the installation is a video work marked by seascapes and spiritscapes that form Zarina’s relation to the ambiguous shorelines we call home and the other places we safeguard and return to. The work draws from local/regional historiographical notions of living, dying, surviving and our own personal imaginings of these processes.

Offering a looking glass to the peculiar ways we form kinship, Talismans for Peculiar Habitats unpacks its relation to constructing communities of comfort and care whether through the bound or aversion of bloodlines and the making or breaking of (found) family.

Zarina Muhammad, Talismans for Peculiar Habitats, 2019, mixed-media installation. Between the Living and the Archive, 9 – 28 March 2021, installation view. Photography by Ruey Loon.

© Between the Living and the Archive • 2021