Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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featured projects

Anita Singh - MicroOrganisms

Location: St. John's, NL
ArtsNL Program Funded Under: Professional Project Grants Program
Amount Funded: $5,400



Dates: November 15, 2015 to April 15, 2016
Exhibition Dates:
On now, until June 11, 2016
Artist E-mail:

Anita Singh was born in Guyana, South America before eventually moving to Canada where she explored Montreal, Toronto, and Victoria as well as a stint in New York and England before ultimately landing in St. John’s in 1999. She is a visual artist who is known for her painting and printmaking, but also mixed media work and since November 2012 she has been developing her technical skills and creating artwork with clay.

Over the past year or so, Singh has felt a strong desire to focus her artistic energy towards creating three dimensional sculptural forms as well as merging her paintings with sculpture. To that end, she has created a body of work called microorganisms which was funded in part through ArtsNL’s Professional Project Grants Program.

The new series of work was set to explore intricate shapes, complex patterns, and textures of seeds, pollen and sea life to highlight a few focal points. The point of view for the study is both macro and microscopic. This goal has been achieved through a series of smaller encaustic paintings and ceramic sculptures. The presentation also includes a larger wall hanging work plus another series of free standing microorganism inspired sculptures varying in size.

seed 2

Tropical Seed

In her work, generally, Singh enjoys breaking down the different facets of life into segments of experiences, as they unfold in a timeline. Whether it be a psychological event such as a distinctly happy moment from the past or present, or an observation of physical environment – such as is the case with this new series, Singh hopes to stimulate her audience with a new appreciation for the natural world.
Her work is often layered, and she regularly experiments with vivid colour, pattern, texture, and the repetition of form. Outside her own artistic practice, Singh has been involved in dozens of ArtsNL funded ArtsSmarts projects from 2003 to 2016. She has also been an arts instructor at festivals, such as the recent Fibre Arts Conference in 2015 and the Arts Work Teachers Conference in 2008 and 2011.

She has worked with arts education centres and galleries including St. Michael’s Printshop, Anna Templeton Centre, The Craft Council Clay Studio, The Murphy Centre and Eastern Edge. Despite the complicated and sophisticated nature of her work, she expertly breaks down her techniques into simple steps for the purposes of teaching. Her own pieces are in collections belonging to McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Provincial Art Bank of Newfoundland and Labrador and many others.

Her latest show, microorganisms, is running now in the Annex gallery at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. In our latest feature we chat with Anita about the collection.

Q and A with Anita Singh...

ArtsNL: What drew you to working in three dimensions and do more sculpture for your latest series of work?

seed vesselSeed Vessel

Anita: It feels like a natural progression. I began embedding objects and building up layers while working with the beeswax (encaustics).

ArtsNL: How did you decide on and choose the different subject matter that has inspired each of your pieces, the various microorganisms?

Anita: The subject matter as been there for a while, in the past few years I’ve been more focused the shapes, patterns, textures found in seeds.

ArtsNL: What was the biggest challenge you faced as you developed this series of new work?

seed A

Seed "A"

Anita: There are so many different steps while working with clay, each step with endlessly exciting possibilities but there’s also the potential for various things to go wrong. You don’t know if you’ll end up liking the piece until the very last step.

ArtsNL: What pieces in the series stand out to you particularly, and why?

Anita: Seed Vessel the piece in the invitations that were sent out. It was premeditated the entire time, though I usually work more intuitively.

ArtsNL: In the arts education work you do with students of varying ages, when they express a desire to professionally practice as an artist, what do you say to them in terms of guidance, advice, etc.?

Anita: I’d say that I feel so blessed to be able to survive and practice as an artist; that they won’t necessarily make a lot of money, but they will live a very rich life!

ArtsNL: Why did you feel it was important to study the subject matter you have in this series?

Anita: Using word study, it makes me think that I should be more knowledgeable about the microorganisms. I’m not. I am, though, attracted and inspired by the colours, shapes, patterns, textures and so on.

ArtsNL: What was your creative process for the development of the new body of work, and what did you learn?

Anita: I began by sketching ideas and sculpting small seeds. I borrowed a book from the library that was called Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Plants. The images in this book are amazing!

ArtsNL: What do you hope people take from viewing and appreciating this new series of work?



Anita: With all my work, I want to delight my audience with an appreciation of nature.

ArtsNL: What do you currently have in the works in terms of your next project?

Anita: I am finishing up work for a group exhibition at the Salmonier Nature Park, which will open June 4, 2016. I’m also in the planning stages of making work (Exploring Links between Newfoundland and the Caribbean) for a group show at Eastern Edge Gallery opening September 9, 2016.

ArtsNL: Will this new collection of artwork exhibit elsewhere following its current exhibition, and how/when/where can people see it at the moment?

Anita: My MircroOrganisms exhibition will be at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (located at 59 Duckworth Street) up until June 11, 2016. I also have new work related to this series that will be exhibited at the Leyton Gallery at 6 Clift's/Baird's Cove Lane off Water Street as of June 18, 2016.

ArtsNL: How does the ArtsNL funding from the Professional Project Grants Program help?

Anita: Making artwork takes time. Paying the mortgage and feeding the family takes money. I would simply not be able to create a body of artwork without some financial support to help cover daily living expenses.

ArtsNL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Anita: Thank you ArtsNL! I couldn’t have done it without you.