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Impact 0345: Singapore’s first taxidermist: Art after death

Vivian Tham · 14 February 2022
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Vivian Tham, 28, is the founder of Black Crow Taxidermy & Art, the first of its kind in Singapore. The company has a mission to educate the public by creating art through the science of taxidermy. Vivian hopes to create a better understanding and appreciation for nature in our urban environment.

Tell us more about what you do!

Besides helping pet owners preserve their pets after it has passed, I run workshops where individuals can create beautiful butterfly terrariums with preserved butterflies while learning all about them. You would be surprised at the variety of species and colours we have here in Singapore!

Beyond workshops, Black Crow Taxidermy & Art also assists local and regional universities with their research, accepts commissions for weddings and holds art exhibitions. 

What inspires or motivates you to do this?

Since I was younger, I have loved nature and art. I used to hike frequently and sell my drawings. Over time, through my studies and experience working with various museums and laboratories, I have learnt the art of preservation and continued pursuing it as a hobby. Many of my close friends loved my work and that motivated me to do more. Eventually, the demand led me to start a business by myself.

Have you faced any challenges so far? How did you overcome them?

I have faced various challenges, not only with starting my own business from scratch but one that is in taxidermy – an industry that is new and uncommon in Singapore. Being one of the pioneers in this industry, we made much headway and achieved many milestones despite many difficulties. Overall, the general public does not understand the art of taxidermy or realise the beauty of nature around them. Hopefully, this will change over time.

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

Starting a business is not an easy task – burnout is real, so take time to rest. If you can, find a way to make your passion or hobby your work, that way you will never feel like you are working! In addition, find time to appreciate nature – it can be very relaxing and you can learn so much!

What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

Besides growing the business on a larger scale, I hope to work with the zoo on preserving bigger pieces such as a giraffe or a flamingo. The last big piece I did was a skeleton of a horse for a farm in Malaysia which took me several months to complete. Beyond that, I hope to open a small-sized taxidermy museum one day, one where individuals can be even closer to animals to observe and appreciate them up close without worry. Who knows? They may even get to touch a real preserved zebra one day.

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