From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting our Tamil Heritage, the Indian Heritage Centre’s (IHC) latest special exhibition, explores this lesser-known narrative by presenting fresh perspectives of the history and identity of the Tamil community in Singapore and the region.

Through more than 230 objects from local and international collections, the stories of the journeys of the people from India’s Coromandel region to Southeast Asia are illustrated and told. Among these objects are rare artefacts from Singapore’s National Collection and other museums and institutions, precious family heirlooms from community lenders and donors, as well as 3D holographic showcases that harness technology to bring the past to life.

Indian Heritage Centre, Special Exhibition Gallery, Level 2

Date: 23 November 2019 – 30 June 2020
Admission: Free

Exhibition highlights:

  • Siva Nataraja – 12th century CE, Chola Period
  • Prasasti Yupa of Mulavarman (Mulavarman Inscription) – Muara Kaman, Kutai, East Kalimantan 4th century CE
  • Larger Leiden Grant – circa 1006 CE
  • Singapore Stone – 11th–13th centuries CE
  • Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) – Copy inscribed in 1896
  • Piring (Dish) – Romano-Indian Rouletted Ware, 2nd–3rd centuries
  • Ship’s bell, with inscription in Tamil characters translated as “Bell of the Ship Mohideen Bakhsh” – 17th – 18th centuries
  • Tuppotiya (Skirtcloth) – 18th century, made in the Coromandel Coast and collected in Sri Lanka
  • Petition submitted by Naraina Pillai – October 1822, Singapore
  • Munajathu Thirattu – 1872, Singapore
  • Kazhuthiru or wedding necklace – Mid-20th century, Chettinad
  • Draupadi Amman with two attendants – 20th century, Singapore
  • A set of 8 title deeds for properties owned by Annamalai Pillai at Tank Road, Confederate Coconut plantation, Siglap, Bukit Timah Road and Tanglin – 1886–1913, Singapore
  • Tamil brick maker’s mould – 19th century, Singapore

Exhibition Programmes and Commissioned works:

  • Traveller’s Tales by Lavanya Mani – Hand-painted and embroidered textiles 2019
  • Heart in Hand by Anurendra Jegadeva – Hand-painted on wood 2019
  • Masala by Kumari Nahappan – spice garden to celebrate the historical importance of spice in the trade networks between the Tamil coast and Southeast Asia, as well as the centrality of spice in Tamil cuisine.
  • Odyssey of Tamils – a documentary film by award-winning director K Rajagopal
  • Craft Workshop by Kala Sangam – 23 and 30 November, 10 AM – 12 PM
  • Sojourners to Settlers: Tamils in Southeast Asia and Singapore International Conference – 6 and 7 December

Indian Heritage Centre CultureFest 2019

Date: 23 – 24 November and 30 November – 1 December (10 AM – 5 PM)
Venue: Indian Heritage Centre
Admission: Free

Coinciding with this year’s special exhibition From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting Our Tamil Heritage, the theme for CultureFest 2019 is the evolution of Tamil identity in Singapore. The festival will showcase glimpses of Tamil fashion, cuisine, history, arts, and festive celebrations. Visitors can look forward to panel discussions, interactive performances, trails and workshops.

  • Live Street Performances – 23, 24, 30 November and 1 December (11 AM – 1 PM)
  • Little India Discovery Trails – 23 November (2 PM – 3:30 PM, 4 PM – 5:30 PM); 24 November, 2 PM – 3:30 PM); 30 November (2 PM – 3:30 PM, 4 PM – 5:30 PM), 1 December (2 PM – 3:30 PM)
  • Curator’s Tour – 23 and 30 November (3 PM – 4 PM)
  • Panel Discussion: Muthamizh in Singapore – Tradition & Modernity – 23 and 30 November (4 PM – 6 PM)
  • Panel Discussion: Yes, I’m Tamiழan – Identity and Aspirations – 30 November (4 PM – 6 PM)
  • Tamil Street Theatre Performance – Silambu Selvi – 23 November (6 PM – 7 PM)
  • Banana Leaf Dining Etiquette Workshop – 24 November (11 AM – 1 PM)
  • Traditional Spice Masterclass – 24 November (2 PM – 4 PM)
  • Live Music Performance – 30 November (6 PM – 7 PM)
  • Cooking Demo – Jaffna to the Malay Archipelago – A Contemporary Culinary Spice Route Journey – 1 December (10 AM – 12 PM)
  • Art Installation: Signs of Times – POLI Site

Indian Heritage Centre CultureFest is made possible with the support of the stakeholders in Little India, brought together by IHC and the Singapore Tourism Board, to engender local pride and foster collaboration that celebrates Little India’s heritage and culture.

More information can be found here or on Facebook.