Ode to the Unknown

Madhvi Subrahmanian’s work entitled Ode to the Unknown presents a collection of rubber cups created at her studio at Guan Huat Dragon Kiln, one of the locations for the production of the ceramic latex collection cups in the 1900s. The installation comprises multiple cups made by hand with clay (including a slip of Singapore clay) and painted in bright colours representing the vibrant diversity of Indian culture. Each cup is decorated with spiral motifs inspired by the half spiral system of tapping rubber and is a metaphorical expression of the circle of life. Ode to the Unknown draws inspiration from the cross-cultural narrative of Chinese and Indian labour in the rubber collection industry. Ceramic technology brought to Singapore by Chinese migrants was used to produce latex collection cups for the rubber plantation where the labour was predominantly Indian. Through this installation, the artist pays homage to the unknown migrants who were the makers and users of rubber-tapping cups. The work also draws reference from the rubber latex collection cups on display in the IHC's permanent galleries. It serves as an important symbol of the experience of migrants past by a migrant present.

Object size: Dimensions variable.Please refer to individual dimension.
Accession No.
ceramic (material)
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre
Modern Art Forms