What are these giant saga seeds doing in Bintan?

What are these giant saga seeds doing in Bintan?

Little red dots

Text: Adibah Isa

Artist Kumari Nahappan’s saga seeds are now at The Sanchaya, a luxury resort in Bintan which has a surprising connection to actor Dev Patel

Do you remember picking up saga seeds in the park as a child? Whether you kept a collection as a hobby or used them in a science project, saga seeds are characters intrinsic to the Singapore and Malaysia childhood experience — there are approximately 200 saga trees in this little red dot. What a joy to reconnect with them as adults, especially in such a large scale thanks to Malaysian-born and Singapore-based artist Kumari Nahappan.

An artist who has used saga seeds in her works since 2000, Nahappan sees them as beings that represent potential. The colour red — one that represents love, passion, anger and aggression — is an added bonus. Resembling the potential to grow and strengthen, the seeds immediately connect the viewers to nature and its untapped potential. You can see Nahappan's works dotted around Singapore in sculptures seen at ION Orchard, Changi Airport and National Museum. You might also recall a particularly overwhelming encounter at the Singapore Biennale in 2013, where the artist filled the centre of an exhibition room at the Singapore Art Museum with 4,000kg of saga seeds in her work, 'Anahata'.

In your next trip to Bintan, you might chance upon these larger than life seeds again. Placed around the grounds of The Sanchaya are 30 red fiberglass seeds, which were last shown at the ANIMA MUNDI International Art Festival in Venice from September to November last year, running parallel to the 57th Venice Biennale.

Charlotte Ager

Nahappan, who was formerly an interior designer, is one of two artists exhibiting their work at The Sanchaya. Part of owner Natalya Pavchinskaya's new initiative to enhance the experience for culture vultures who visit the four-year-old luxury resort, Nahappan joins Charlotte Ager, a London-based artist and illustrator who recently completed a two-week residency at The Sanchaya.

Another surprising connection to the creative set is Pavchinskaya's commitment to film. Fun fact: Pavchinskaya's the executive producer of Dev Patel's short, Home Shopper. In fact, she's been involved in other entertainment projects such as Buffalo Boys, Hotel Mumbai and The Walking Dead. Starring Armie Hammer, Home Shopper debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Running for 18 minutes, the short tells the story of an unhappy housewife whose home shopping channel addiction takes an unexpected turn

Home Shopper was screened at The Sanchaya in April, when it debuted an educational film investment summit in collaboration with S'Ya, Xeitgeist Entertainment Group and Goalpost Pictures Australia. It wasn't the Academy Award Nominee's first time at the Bintan resort. In 2015, Patel was a guest at Pala, a salon that also hosted film producer Edward R. Pressman, the man behind films such as The Man Who Knew Infinity and Thank You For Smoking. The Sanchaya has a knack for attracting film aficionados — it also hosted the Asian premiere of award-winning virtual reality film The Doghouse in 2016. We can't wait to see what the resort's up to next.

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