THE CARRIER BAG: Gathering as Collecting.

An art exhibition featuring the collection of

Marina Mahathir, Noor Mahnun Mohamed and Lillian Tay


I am not telling that story. We’ve heard it, we’ve heard all about all the sticks, spears and swords, the things to bash and poke and hit with, the long, hard things, but we have not heard about the thing to put things in, the container for the thing contained. That is the new story.”

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin 1986.


The exhibition ‘The Carrier Bag: Gathering as Collecting’ showcases a collection of art by three eminent women, each being a dedicated supporter of the arts not as collectors in an androcentric way but more through their inimitable and considerate process of gathering.


Featuring Marina Mahathir, Noor Mahnun Mohamed and Lillian Tay, the exhibition allows a look into their personal carrier bags; it’s goods questioning conventional approaches akin to hunting, the romanticism & serendipity of discovering whilst gathering, and the age-old values of barter trading.


Curated by sharmin parameswaran.





Read the exhibition essay by Dipali Gupta






About the collectors / gatherers:

Marina Mahathir

Marina Mahathir is a newspaper columnist and activist. She led an HIV/AIDS NGO for 12 years, served on the board of Sisters in Islam for six years and currently the chairs the board of Musawah, the global movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family. Marina has also produced TV programmes, feature films and a documentary and founded Zafigo.com, a website for women and travel. Currently, she also hosts Hello Zafigo, an online chat show, and a podcast on books called Busy Reading Books. Penguin Random House SEA will publish her memoir in November 2021.


Noor Mahnun Mohamed

Noor Mahnun Mohamed (or Anum) studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig, Germany and graduated with a Masters in Fine Art (1996). In 2003 she was awarded the Italian Government Scholarship in 2003 to study printmaking at the International School of Print and Graphic Il Bisonte, Florence, Italy. She was also curator at Valentine Willie Fine Art (2003–2005), and Arts Manager of the Rimbun Dahan Art Residency programme (2006–2012) in Kuang, Selangor. She was granted the Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship (2012–2013), a programme funded by the Nippon Foundation Grant, which she spent in Japan to research printmaking. As a painter she has had several solo and group exhibitions, locally and abroad.


Lillian Tay

Ar. Lillian Tay trained as a civil engineer and architect at Princeton University, USA, where she obtained her B.Sc Engineering and Master of Architecture in 1990. She worked at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in New York City prior to returning home to Kuala Lumpur. Lillian has been a Principal of VERITAS Architects since 1995. Lillian’s interest in architecture extends beyond that of professional practice; she is committed to the development of a greater appreciation of design within the profession and amongst the Malaysian public, through her involvement in professional development activities, education, exhibitions and publications.


About the curators:

sharmin parameswaran IG : p_sharmin

A part-time independent curator working in the Malaysian visual arts scene with interests rooted in the potential of collaborative art projects to engage wider audiences through thought, experience, and discourse. Her curatorial and project management projects include a collaboration with women’s rights group All Women’s Action Society to stage The Good Malaysian Woman: Ethnicity, Religion, Politics; highlighting how female stereotypes affect women’s sense of self, community and nationality. Other collaborators include the acclaimed Obscura Photo Festival, as well as the multidisciplinary Cooler Lumpur Festival 2017 and Urbanscapes 2017/2018. She also worked as Lead Curator on CENDANA’s (Cultural Economy Development Agency) SH/FT A Contemporary Visual Art Exhibition , 2019. The exhibition featured works from 42 independent Malaysian artists. Her most recent major project was PAUSE KL & PENANG in 2021, an exhibition questioning the pandemic’s impact on daily lives.


Dipali Gupta IG : dipalianurag

Dipali Gupta is a multi-disciplinary, experimental artist whose practice explores societal constructs from the domain of the feminine. Influenced by Foucauldian biopolitics and Deleuzian societies of control, Dipali’s art subvert notions of patriarchy, androcentricity and binarism by re- appropriating less significant genres and layering concepts with artistic and social canons. Her research interests focus on feminist theory, post humanism, body and identity politics. A graduate from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore and Goldsmith’s University, London, Dipali won the prestigious Chan Davies Art Prize in 2018, was nominated for the Young Master’s Art Prize 2019 and The Wells Art Contemporary Award 2020, London. She was recently invited for the Drawing Research Residency 2020 by L’AIR Arts, Paris and co-moderates the reading group, ‘Constructing the Body’ for Malaysia Design Archive. Her recent projects include Singapore Art Week 2021 and NAFAS, Mayabank’s Emerging Women Artists of 2021.