SAM Mini Mobile Museum: ‘May Tainga ang Lupa (The Land has Ears)’ by Rodel Tapaya

The Library is pleased to host Singapore Art Museum’s (SAM) Mini Mobile Museum this semester, featuring artworks by Rodel Tapaya, a Filipino artist. Discover the rich stories and folklore of the Philippines through Rodel’s artworks and be transported through forgotten stories told by indigenous groups that once existed across the archipelago. This exhibition is also part of the College’s Diversity Week celebrations this year, and runs from 13 January to 23 February 2020.


About the exhibition







The Land has Ears harnesses the rich mythology of the Philippines, capturing the fables, folklore and legends of the many indigenous groups that once existed across the archipelago. Alive with colourful characters such as spirits and monsters, such tales of bravery, deception and wit stirred the imagination and entertained. Transmitted orally – often told by an elder to a child – many of these stories were forgotten during the Philippines’ many years of western colonial rule.

The work unfolds across the seven themes of Land, Water, Fire, Plants, Animals, the Human and Spirit World. Tapaya brings these tales of yore into the current-day by weaving in contemporary issues such as environmental damage, urban poverty, pollution and land scarcity.

In the artist’s words, “Stories of myths and folktales are our ancestors’ way of understanding the world. The work hopes to illuminate these stories of the past and find inspiration and understanding of the world in the present times.”

Rodel Tapaya’s commission for the SAM Mini Mobile Museum, responds to a suite of four dioramas created by Tapaya in 2009, that are currently in the National Collection: Pedro and the Witch, The Hunter of Pinamaloy, Origin of Grain and The Wise Monkey and the Foolish Giant.


About the artist

Rodel Tapaya (b. 1980, Montalban, Philippines) is a widely recognised artist in Southeast Asia today. Working in a media ranging from monumental paintings, to intricate sculptures and traditional craft, Tapaya creates work that synthesises folk narratives, pre-colonial historical research and contemporary reality within the framework of memory and history. Tapaya exhibits extensively across the region and won the Grand Prize of the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize in 2011. He lives and works in Bulacan, Philippines.

About SAM Mini Mobile Museum

The SAM Mini Mobile Museum is a travelling art exhibition held in partnership with Yale-NUS College.

The Mini Mobile Museum introduces the multifaceted nature of contemporary art through a selection of SAM’s permanent collection artworks, adapted for non-museum spaces and created by Southeast Asian artists. Featuring art forms like drawings, installations, sound and video, the Mini Mobile Museum invites the viewer to take a closer look at the commissioned artwork in an intimate space. Every exhibition will be accompanied by self-guided activities for families.

The SAM Mini Mobile Museum will take place throughout the period of SAM’s building redevelopment.

For more information about the dates and venues of the SAM Mini Mobile Museum, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Images and exhibition write-ups are courtesy of Singapore Art Museum.