Dialogue: Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning: Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning


Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Dialogue", a duo exhibition by Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning. This exhibition features recent works on paper by the two artists, which are characterized by their usage of bold colors and multi-layered compositions. While Banerjee's works depict mythical-looking figures painted in acrylic and incorporating collage elements, the new series of works on paper by Zai present abstract forms drawn in ink, watercolour and organic pigments. Through this exhibition, we hope to create a lively dialogue between the works of these two artists, which resonate strongly in the time that we live in.


One of the major impacts of the pandemic is the decreased amount of human interaction in our daily lives. Rina Banerjee relooks at how human beings connect with one another, and she thinks that this crisis contains room for change. In relation to this series of drawings, the artist states, "We have grown fond of each other with bodily travel, migration, commerce and like petals of a flower we open ourselves to each other's influence. We gather to replenish our spirited brain, our boredom of life shed. We can find here a rejuvenated spring." In the work Tropical Profit… (2020), a female figure in the center of the composition catches one's attention. Dressed in a see-through dress and wearing a pair of black high-heel shoes, the woman seems to be wandering about in nature. In the background are coconut trees and a grey fairy-like creature who appears to be placing its hand on the sleeve of the soft dress worn by the woman. This action seems to suggest their relationship in an ambiguous way, provoking the viewers' imagination further on the scene depicted in a tropical land.


Zai Kuning presents his latest drawing series titled Prodigal Pagan Hymn (2020 - present, ongoing). For nearly 2 decades, the artist has been working with indigenous groups of people, namely the Orang Laut and Orang Asli, and has created bodies of works inspired by his research and interactions with them. However, the pandemic made it impossible for him to travel out of Singapore to meet these people, changing the direction of his creation drastically. Zai gained an abundance of time to reflect in solitude in his studio, and slowly developed this new drawing series since 2020. His earlier drawings, especially those from the Ombak Hitam series (2016), were characterized by their monochromatic tones. In contrast, the newly-produced works embrace colors with vibrancy and depth. Using natural pigments like turmeric and chilli powder not only brought a big change to the hues in his work, but also created texture. His new works may appear different from his earlier sculptures and the drawings, but the subject of his creation still revolves around his long-ongoing theme of "Home where we belong". As Zai explains, this series is about "resonation, voices, and broken memories of ancestral roots towards meanings and symbolic landscape."


Ota Fine Arts invites you to the exhibition "Dialogue" to experience the unique worlds of the artists Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning.

Installation Views