Shahmen Suku (Australia/Singapore) is a performance artist based in Sydney who explores ideas of racial and cultural identity, gender roles, the home and the kitchen, food and storytelling. Growing up in a modern matriarchal Indian family in Singapore, Shahmen processes his sense of displacement from home as Radha La Bia, the Diva from India, who entered the country by dubious means. Moving to Australia has given Shahmen multiple perspectives on migration, culture, race, colonisation and gender identity. Some of these issues cannot be discussed openly in Singapore or as himself, and finds expression in his alter ego.
Drawing on a background in biomedical science, cooking and interior design, Radha’s performances create holistic experiences that encompass culinary science and spatial dynamics. Spiced with family stories, Radha’s shows range across pop culture, social media and an understanding of Australia as a foreign body. Radha La Bia is a persona portrayed by Shahmen Suku.
Shahmen was born in 1987 in Singapore and moved to Australia in 2009.
Part of the Empire Remains Shop, a project by Cooking Sections.
The project is made possible with the generous support of: Nicoletta Fiorucci; Outset, Arts Council England; Acción Cultural Española (AC/E); Stanley Picker Gallery; Kingston University; The Keir Foundation; and a number of individuals who wish to remain anonymous.
Please note all artist-in-residence biographies are accurate at the time of their residency. For up-to-date bios please visit the artist’s website.