Tiffany Singh’s latest installation ‘Preserve’ is currently double-billed alongside the Tessa Laird show ‘Post-post-poster’ as part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival in Auckland. Sitting under the umbrella title ‘Double Rainbow’, the shows use a 2010 video clip that went viral on YouTube as a point of departure. Posted by hungrybear9562, it features a man marvelling at the magnificence of a double rainbow in the Yosemite Valley. He sobs and exclaims; ‘What does it mean?”.
In the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue essay, Laird and Singh interpret hungrybear’s unbridled passion for nature as a symptom of a ‘spiritual hunger’. Singh’s response to this yearning for enlightenment with her installation ‘Preserve’ is two-fold. She conflates the divisions between East and West, presenting exquisite hand-modelled deities of all distinctions – Ganesha, Mary, Buddha. They sit upon a single shelf that runs along the length of the gallery. The gods are cast from beeswax, and the smell upon entering the room is exquisite. The scent, combined with the sacred, multicoloured figures and the room’s spectral colours evokes a heady exoticism.
But as is so often the case with Singh’s installations, the work will only remain untouched for a set period of time. Come October 28th, visitors are invited to bring something handmade to the gallery and swap it for one of the little wax gods. Thus the work enters a period of modification and exchange fuelled by the altruism that typifies Singh’s practice. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the resulting offerings will be divided between local community groups, thus effecting a ‘double rainbow’ of exchange – audiences can satiate their spiritual hunger and, in turn, provide practical sustenance for those in need.
Double Rainbow, Papakura Art Gallery, 10 Averill Street, Papakura, Auckland, until November 4th.