Shin Shin Bijinga! (新。真美人系)

My team, Gekkie, Raj, Son Tra and I created a visual response to Shin Bijinga – No.12 Dancing with Fan by Yosho Chikanobu.

I believe this is our first time doing such a project, and actually exhibiting it (although it was only for 5 hours), but for me, it felt really exciting because it was also my first time creating an interactive artwork.

The results definitely didn’t come easy. There were many struggles and obstacles (as I’m sure everyone has). In our first brainstorm session, we could hardly come up with any ideas. Seeing Yao Lu’s New Landscapes gave us better ideas. It was about having the same composition, but different subject matters, with an entirely different context/idea from the original Chinese landscape paintings. Naturally, we thought of doing Singapore landscapes as a response to Japanese screens. Somehow, the idea wasn’t all that exciting to us though.

Some lecture later, on Bjinga, we developed a new idea (Gekkie thought of it first!) Interestingly, women in Bijinga was depicted as shy and alluring, which is a different behaviour compared to women now! It was fun thinking of changing poses to show the more confident side of modern women (equality/feminism), but we felt that it may be a too complex or confusing topic to depict well/clearly.

Finally, after some discussions and comments, we found that there was a series of 18th century Bijinga (Shin Bijinga), that was a response to the original 17th century Bijinga. We then realised that we could possibly do a response to a response! We wanted to keep the Bijinga style, and also to make it obvious that we were responding to the Shin Bijinga, hence we finalized on the idea of changing the clothes of one of the works in the Shin Bijinga series. It is not too complicated and is easy to show our idea, that many things are different in our century, one of them being the roles of women, and the different clothes they wear based on it.

I was apprehensive about drawing the “suit”, as I’m not very good with fashion or anatomy. Thankfully, I had Gekkie and Son Tra to help as they gave me constructive comments to improve. As the blouses/blazers are usually plain-coloured, I added the patterns on the tie to give it the original feel, much like how Gekkie added it for the words on her t-shirt.

Overall, thinking back on all the obstacles we met along the way, I/we were really satisfied with how it turned out! It has been a long ride since our very first idea, and we’re grateful for all the suggestions and advice from our tutors!