We are thrilled to launch our first artist interview feature called 20 Questions, with the wonderful Pooja Nansi!
Her work has been described as “unflinching, lyrical and quietly honest”. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Stiletto Scars and Love is An Empty Barstool. Since April 2013, she has been curating a monthly spoken word and poetry showcase called Speakeasy which plays to packed audiences. Her one woman show You Are Here which explores her own family history of migration was showcased as part of the Esplanade Studios Series in 2016 and has since toured to Australia for the Queensland Poetry Festival. She was a recipient of the Young Artist Award in 2016. She is also Singapore’s first Youth Poet Ambassador.
Here she answered 20 artist interview questions for us.
1. Three words that best describe you.
I Need Wine.
2. Your favourite quote and why (including the source – it can be your own, please state).
Find out who you are and do it on purpose – Dolly Parton.
3. What’s your favourite art medium to create something? (you have to choose one)
A Microsoft Word document.
4. What do you always carry with you in your handbag/man bag (not keys, wallet or phone)?
Vaseline. For shoe bites and chapped lips obviously.
5. Favourite song to sing in the shower? (title and artist)
Back that Azz up – Juvenile.
6. Best arts venue in Singapore and why?
Artistry. Because it supports small Independent ventures and Prashant who runs it is really easy on the eyes.
7. What are your 3 favourite desert island discs? (you’ve only got three albums to take with you to a deserted island for 6 months so choose wisely)
A mix CD of 2000’s Hip hop, any Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan album and Number 1’s by Mariah Carey.
8. What wrecks inspiration and creativity?
9. Name a film or documentary we should all see.
Ramesh Sippy’s 1975 classic “Sholay”.
10. Recommend an (art) book we should all read. Tell us why?
“Making your life as an artist” by Andrew Simonet. Because making art is an odd life and this book makes some sense of it.
11. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
12. The greatest thing I have ever done is….
13. Tell us about a project/collection you’re really proud of and why?
Speakeasy that’s been running since 2013 at Artistry. It’s been a real privilege to programme so many new and established voices and the space is wonderful, the beer cold, the fries exceptional and the audience really awesome. Those evenings have a really special feeling for me.
14. What’s your favourite Singaporean dish to eat and why?
Maggi Mee Curry. If I need to explain this glorious thing, we’ll never be friends.
15. Best advice for getting rid of procrastination?
16. Who is your favourite Instagram artist?
I won’t share my favourite poet because I am selective about who I entrust this to but I love @bhuli.art. Tanya Kotnala does these incredible illustrations based off her social enterprise which aims to revive the cottage industry in rural India. I think it’s a beautiful example of the kind of possible synergy between heritage and modernity.
17. Which artist should we be looking out for in Singapore? (new/ unknown talent)
@yellowmushmellow who might not be unknown, but her illustrations are all kinds of poignant comedy.
18. Who are your biggest creative influences?
Old Bollywood songs, my family and Rap music.
19. A place you love to go to (in Singapore ideally) to have some quiet time? (why there?)
Parkway Parade. I’ve grown up there.
20. Shameless plug for your work or a cause you feel passionately about?
As a Singaporean writer, I feel passionately about Books Actually, the independent bookstore and their publishing arm Math Paper Press who are at the very heart of our publishing. This is a really special place for our literary scene and they are raising money to buy their own premises so that their operations are not constantly subjected to rental rates. It would make all the difference if everyone went down and bought a book or twelve.
Thank you Pooja, if you would like to know more about her work, check out her website at poojanansi.com
To read another artist interview click here.