“To me, an important gap that a curator fills is that between artist and audience,” says Ahuja, who founded and runs the near two-year-old art consultancy Mama Magnet. Her forte? Curating unique experiential art encounters for a wide audience.
Take Inner Like The OutAR, a memorable 2021 installation that immersed visitors within an audio-visual simulation of the natural world using augmented reality technology. A separate room was transformed into a forest complete with foliage, scents and a custom soundtrack by the Singapore electronic artist Intriguant to enhance the whole experience.
An installation view of Inner Like The OutAR, a fun and layered multi-sensorial exhibition Ahuja curated for last year’s Singapore Art Week.
Ahuja makes it a point to always actively work with an audience in mind, which explains the multiple sensory touch points and other ways of encouraging interaction signature to her shows. These help audiences better connect with the works or at least remember the programme beyond a snap on their phones – especially in an era of short and jumpy attention spans, she says.
The 28-year-old – who has a degree in communication studies with a minor in art history, and got into curating when working at the multidisciplinary creative studio Kult – has an equally relatable approach when it comes to conceptualising a show.
“I’m driven first to the narrative – whether this comes from an artist or is borrowed from music, a book, film or observations of society and the times,” she explains.
Check out the results of what she’s been into and dreaming up this month, when she debuts two shows for Singapore Art Week: Happy House at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, a multimedia, multi-artist experience that explores Singaporeans’ relationship with happiness; and the AliWALL Festival at Aliwal Arts Centre, which boasts activities that aim to encourage visitors to reconsider the state of urban living today and in the future.
On the role of a curator today, she says: “I think everyone is or can be a curator. The role has expanded to include anyone who has decent taste that others also enjoy. ”
Below, Ahuja shares with us her curation process and the emerging artists she recommends.