Curating a community museum for Indians in Singapore: Nalina Gopal

The Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) in Singapore is a futuristic-looking building of glass and concrete that sits among the colourful shophouses at the heart of Little India.

Such a juxtaposition that is not an uncommon sight in the culture enclaves on the sunny island state, but what is unique about the IHC is that it is the only museum in the Southeast Asian region that focuses on the heritage of Indian diaspora. 

“The façade of the IHC is inspired by the baoli (a stepwell), which is a place of communal gathering, as water is an important life source,” shared the highly knowledgeable and passionate Curator of IHC Nalina Gopal. “In the same way, IHC hopes to act as a place that could bring together the Indians in Singapore.” she adds. 

The centre was also one of the first museums in Singapore to incorporate technologies such as augmented reality and social media pit-stops in its exhibits. 

Watch our exclusive interview with Nalina as she shares the journey of IHC over the last five years, the artists IHC has worked with, and how IHC makes sense of the identities of Indian diaspora in Singapore, within the context of Southeast Asia.