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Thayiramma / தயிரம்மா

Entrepreneur / தொழில்முனைவர்

“Thayiramma is a Thamizhachi who lives rent free in my mind. I first encountered her as this image in Sharon Siddique and Nirmala Purushotam’s canonical book on Little India. I then learnt that she was a famous sight that many today still remember. ‘Thayiramma’, as she is popularly known, is a colloquialism meaning ‘yoghurt-mother’. I do not yet know her real name. Between land-use policies and unscrupulous landlords, she lost her previous spaces in Potong Pasir and Ang Mo Kio for rearing cows and selling dairy products. She then took to selling her homemade yoghurt from this wooden crate on the five-foot-way outside Komala Vilas, holding court in the very centre of our community space well into the 1980s. Her proud gaze, the simplicity of her enterprise, the tenacity of her story persists. She often surfaces, unplanned, in my work and I find myself holding up her picture to tell collaborators ‘Her. I want to see her.’” — Vithya Subramaniam, Creator/Curator of Thamizhachi

T:>Works Team

Artistic Director: Ong Keng Sen
Executive Director: Traslin Ong
Administration: Ong Soo Mei

Communications & Engagement: Chong Si-Min

Interns: Chimene Khoo, Danielle Koh,

Gaiatri Sasithara, Irish Alcantara,

Jeffrey Kang, Sai Lalitha Aiyer &

Toh Cheng Yee

With support from


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