Born in Singapore, Erika Tan is an artist whose work has evolved from an interest in received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movements of ideas, people and things. Her work arising out of processes of research and responses to the unravelling of facts, fictions, and encounters related to events, locations, audiences and specifics that may already exist. Her work has been exhibited internationally including The Samsung Art Plus Prize (BFI London, 2011); There Is No Road (LABoral, Spain 2010); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); Around The World in Eighty Days (South London Gallery / ICA 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London).

As an extension to her practice, Erika has also jointly curated and project managed art projects in association with Above:Below such as: The ICA in China; Imaginaria Digital Art Prize ’99; HUB @The RiCHMiX, an urban regeneration project; Souvenirs, interventionist project in Museum Street, London. Erika has also had a long- standing interest and engagement with the Chinese Arts sector in Britain. Working as a Chinese Arts Worker and freelance research assistant/curator she has contributed to Half the Sky: Chinese Women in London, Museum of London, 1997. In Focus: Film and Video from the Chinese Diaspora: Britain and Another Province, Waterman Art Center, London, 1997. She was involved in the initial developments of CAS, an East Asian Art Space within the center of London and is was part of the Chinese Art Centre’s (Manchester) Leadership Network Training Scheme.

Erika studied Social Anthropology and Archaeology at Kings College, Cambridge; Film Directing at The Beijing Film Academy, followed by an M.A in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins School of Art, London. Awards have included: The Arts Council Black Arts Video Award, 1993. Firstbase, ACAVA Studio Award, 1995. Digital Arts Fellowship, The Arts Foundation, 1998. British Council Travel Grant to Japan, Arts Council Connections Fund to Singapore, 99/2000. ACME Live Work Studio Award, London, 2001-2004. Artists Links British Council/Arts Council Residency in China Award.

Erika is a Lecturer on the B.A Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins School of Art, University of the Arts, London.

Artist image

At work filming  Sensing Obscurity (I, II, III),  
The Manor House; English Literature; artefacts and the performativity of objects; contrapuntal readings;
and looking inwards backwards /  The Chinese Chippendales /   After” Chinoiserie


Repatriating The Object With No Shadow: Along, Against, Within And Through
Duration: 36.46min
Editing: Erika Tan
Camera: Anthony Lam
With thanks to the British Museum, Raffles Bio-Diversity Museum, Taiping Museum, Matang Museum, Shabbir Hus- sain Mustafa, Anthony Lam, Heidi Tan, Michael Rogge

Repatriating The Object With No Shadow: Along, Against, Within And Through takes the structure of an A to Z (a ‘gesture’ towards the encyclopedic or comprehensive), to approach a glossary of terms/ events/ artefacts/ and personal accounts which connect us to the historical through the specifics and the context of the colonial museum in Malaya.

f 2 web


Vocationem Universalem / Universal Call (& recall)
Duration: 13.30 min looped with alternating versions
Editing: Erika Tan
3D modelling: Irene Lema
Voice: David Smith, Teow Yue Han

The script excerpts are adaptations from the speeches, public addresses, reports and articulations between 1874 and 1977 of the following individuals: D.H.Hodgson, Ivor H.N.Evans, James Collins, H.N.Ridley, Roland Braddell, Governor FredrickWeld, Archdeacon Hose, R.Hanitsch, E.J.H.Corner, Eric R.Alfred, J.C. Moulton, Constance Sheares, Cecil Boden Kloss, Dr. G.D.Haviland and T.S.Raffles.

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This work was supported by National Arts Council’s Arts Creation Fund, Singapore.