Foray into the fascinating and diverse world of fungi and mycology—the study of fungi—with Dr Amy Choong, Chan Wai Yeng and Ng Sze Kiat. In this session, these experts will discuss the burgeoning public interest in fungi in Singapore over the past few years and how it relates to a growing community of mycophiles. Moderated by SAM curators Joella Kiu and Teng Yen Hui, they will also touch on their personal research areas and tackle the intersections between art and biology in this talk, which is held in conjunction with REFUSE, an inter-media exhibition about music, mushrooms and de-composition presented by The Observatory.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Chan Wai Yeng
Chan Wai Yeng started the Facebook group Mushroom Spotters (Singapore) (MSS) in 2016 when she noticed that there was no dedicated online platform for mycophiles in Singapore to share photos of and information on their findings. This group has grown rapidly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many members, like Chan, spending weekends walking in Singapore’s nature reserves in search of uncommon and colourful fungi. Inspired by villagers in Yunnan who supplemented their income by picking wild mushrooms, Chan hopes to participate in as well as organise such wild mushroom hunting trips in foreign countries when travel resumes.
Dr Amy Choong
Dr Amy Choong is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at National University of Singapore (NUS). She obtained her PhD from the University of Hong Kong and a Bachelors with Honors from NUS, and previously worked with Sungei Buloh Nature Park (now Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve), Givaudan Pte Ltd, Tropical Marine Science Institute and Republic Polytechnic. Through her teaching and outreach efforts, which tap on her knowledge of fungal biology, plant growth, biomechanics, anatomy, fragrance, sustainability and waste management, she hopes to impart greater interest in and appreciation for Earth, the planet we call home.
Ng Sze Kiat
Ng Sze Kiat is a self-taught mycologist with over a decade of mushroom-growing experience. He is the founder of Bewilder, a mycological design studio based in Singapore that explores the intersections of art, design and science through fungal expressions. Bewilder's work extends to all aspects of mycological research and development, including strain development, extractions, mycomaterials, mycopesticides and mycoremediation.
ABOUT THE MODERATORS
Joella Kiu is Assistant Curator and Research Assistant (Director’s Office) at the Singapore Art Museum. Her previous curatorial projects include to gather: The Architecture of Relationships, Singapore Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia and The Deepest Blue at the 2018 DISINI Festival. She holds an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a BA in History of Art from the University of York.
Teng Yen Hui
Teng Yen Hui is Collections Manager and Assistant Curator at the Singapore Art Museum. Prior to taking on curatorial work at the museum, she worked independently on several writing projects and exhibitions, including not the norm: on conjugal blisses and misses (2018). Teng holds a BSc in Economics from the Singapore Management University and an MA in Asian Art Histories conferred by Goldsmiths, University of London (LASALLE). Outside of institutional life, she plays in Ellipsis, a five-piece rock band from Singapore.