A site-specific installation consisting of 300 small intaglio prints, depicting 30 different soil microorganisms. The 30 designs are each in edition of 10. Each print is 7.5cm x 9.0cm, made using drypoint technique on recycled Tetra Pak milk cartons. The prints are hung scattered on the wall, in between and around other artworks in the exhibition. This work is intended to be realized in the company of other artworks.

I read that there are more than 6 billion microorganisms in a handful of living soil. Bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, viruses… rich soil is alive not just with these microbes, but with the relationships between them all. I contemplate a long bean that came out of the ground, say thank you to the unseen beings under there, who in their living and fighting and gossiping, exchange matter, energy and information. I put the bean between my teeth – crunchy, sweet – and become part of an order bigger than myself or my species.

Death and despair are everywhere around us right now. There are lessons in the soil. Life depends on relationships. Our survival will depend not on technology but on understanding and increasing these relationships – with each other, and with the non-human.

Long life to the rich country beneath – and between – us!

~

An early version (consisting of 8 microbe designs, each in edition of 10) was first shown in the group exhibition Reka: Cetakan, 8 May – 6 June 2021 at Hin Bus Depot in Georgetown, Penang.

An expanded version of 300 prints was commissioned for the Ilham Art Show 2022, 17 May – 22 Oct 2022 at Ilham Art Gallery. The work was completed with the assistance of Aishah Suhaimi.

Rich Country was shown again as part of DALAM, 9 – 18 Dec 2022 at Think & Tink in Kuching, Sarawak.