ām / ammā / mā maram


In ām / ammā / mā maram artist Sancintya Mohini Simpson researches her matrilineal heritage, making visible the histories of indentured Indian women that remain marginal or erased in colonial archives. 

A first-generation Australian and descendant of labourers sent from the port of Madras (now Chennai), India, to work on sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa between 1863 and 1911, Simpson’s exhibition traces her family’s journey through the use of materials common to these places and histories – such as sugarcane and mango.

Through a combination of paintings, sculpture, poetry and scent, Simpson’s speculative archive speaks to the complexities of intergenerational trauma, memory, migration and healing.


Are our mothers

Mango trees

Or fruit

Fallen, slashed

Are they roots

Leaves or sap

Or branches we

hold onto.

– Sancintya Mohini Simpson 



Sancintya Mohini Simpson (b. 1991, Meanjin, Brisbane, Qld) is a descendant of indentured labourers sent from India to work on colonial sugar plantations in South Africa. Her work navigates the complexities of migration, memory, and trauma—addressing gaps and silences within the colonial archive. ​

Simpson’s work moves between painting, video, poetry, and performance to develop narratives and construct rituals that reflect on her maternal lineage.


ām / ammā / mā maram was first presented at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) from 4 August to 22 October 2022.

IMAGE: Sancintya Mohini Simpson, kotri / barkis (detail) 2023, acrylic and enamel paint, corrugated iron. ‘ām / ammā / mā maram’, installation view, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), 2023. Photo: Dan McCabe


24 February - 28 April 2024