Empire of the Swamp

Country: Singapore
Duration: 15 mins
|21 Seconds
Sound: Stereo
Ratio: 16:9
Available Format/s: HD Digital File
Original Format: 4K Video


“Empire of the Swamp” (2023) begins with a figure wandering from the mangrove swamps surrounding the city edges of Singapore to Bukit Brown Cemetery in the heart of the island, overgrown and rich with biodiversity, once the final resting place for 100, 000 people.

This green space is slowly being swallowed up, graves exhumed to make way for new roads and eventually new housing. A script, written by playwright Joel Tan, is a fable of nature and the repercussions of colonialism. A tale of a crocodile who comes upon the soul of a English soldier lost in the swamps.

“Empire of the Swamp” is part of Atomic Light, David Blandy’s most ambitious project to date featuring four newly commissioned films, it builds upon his continued interest in history, the legacy of empire and the climate crisis.

The tales interconnect through the story of Blandy’s grandfather, a British soldier interred in Singapore & Taiwan as a Japanese prisoner of war, who believed that the horrific atomic bombing of Hiroshima saved his life.

Commissioned by John Hansard Gallery in partnership with Towner Eastbourne, with support from Arts Council England and Elephant Trust.

More works by David Blandy

We’d love to hear from you

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please get in touch

Skip to content