Tag Archives: DD3006

DD3006_08_Narratives of Servitude

Wew. It was a really eye-opening and thought-provoking presentation. Honestly, I never thought of servitude as a form of colonialism between each other but now I kind of do.

How about the contemporary narratives of servitude such as those of domestic workers and construction workers? It just made me feel that may be the difference is that the current ones is more towards the flexibility of the job. Not saying that it is not strict anymore, it just, these jobs seems to be something they can choose tho change if they want. It is no longer something that you will pledge and do for your their whole lives if they don’t want to. I think they are given the option to quit.

I am not sure about how it works in Singapore, but in Indonesia the presence of domestic worker is something that is really common in the household of middle class family upwards. I grew up with domestic workers taking care of the household. But unlike Majie, they quit when they want to  or get a better pay offer in other place. It was quite common to change domestic worker within a year. And most of them were young an aged early 20s. Now that I think of it, it was such a sad truth where the young generation should have been educated and pursuing their dream in their youth.

However, over the years the trend and style of domestic worker has changed from what used to they stay full-time in employer’s house into come into daily or even some days per week. Even some of them started to do some online job or sale as part-time. I think in the current era, it is no longer full servitude that takes one life to be fully dedicated into it. With the presence of internet, it is now more towards how one will stay in one job for others or use their time to make more things for their own.

Just a random thought after writing all above, I think history has shown servitude exists but it changed form over time. From something that is more physical and obvious into more subtle thing that is not tangible. Taking the group’s first definition on servitude, servitude is the state of a person who is subjected, voluntarily or involuntarily, to another person as a servant. If we define the person to be a figure who has online influence via social media, does it mean that the followers who choose to voluntarily follow and unquestioningly accept and do what the figure says are the servants of the figure? It just made me wonder of those who can be radicalised through online media and form.. It is as if they have been in a form of servitude..

DD3006_07_Visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum

It was a really informative tour and interesting story of porcelain and how it tells about the trade and international relations in the past.

My favourite section comes to the section “The Craze for Things Chinese in Europe”. I don’t know why but I found this part exceptionally more amusing as all this time I always thought that China is the one copying Europe, not the other way round, but here it does! So ya…. It feels unusual and thus my favourite object was from this section.

The object I chose is this one:

Details taken form https://discover.acm.stqry.com/v/charger-with-arms-of-the-city-of-mechelen/s/dc511e90-c252-40b1-9e0e-98e3d2b4eac5

Charger with arms of the city of Mechelen. China, around 1722. Porcelain. 2015-00393
Shown on the plate is the crest of the city of Mechelen (today in Belgium). The old spelling “Meggelen” is used here.

Even though the story of the wrong family crest being produced due to error while transporting was really interesting, somehow this piece catches my eyes and I ended up liking it.

Here’s a clearer and better resolution photo from the ACM website:

The colour was pretty and it shows the mix of west and east elements. The pictures on the brim also make me feel like there is story to be told, may be. But overall, I really like it as it gives sense of royalty yet welcoming. Imagine eating on this plate, and finishing the dish and have the feeling of “welcome to the city of Belgium!”. Isn’t it inviting to try? 🙂

DD3006_06_Mapping Singapore

This week is my group’s turn to present and we are presenting on Mapping Singapore. As I researched more on the contemporary artist, I would like to write more on an artwork that even from researching it has made me think think and see things differently : SEA STATE by Charles Lim Yi Yong (2004-present)

Link: https://www.charleslimyiyong.com/seastate

At first, I really could not understand why one would do such a long term project and I tried to read more and more review (but most of them online would say the same thing and point with some rephrasing). I couldn’t find it until I decided to watch the film he produced (posted on the link mentioned above), and…..voila!

Watching it with the cinematography, sound etc was totally different than reading about it. It gives out the feeling, the tone and intention and most importantly it gave me the chill of message the artist trying to say.

My view was changed from merely artwork representing the different stages of the sea, into a basically warning alarm! It summarised the dangerous part of humanity that want to take over and control of the nature, colonialism of the nature in a way.

The stages show how the process started from something common and unusual but slowly but surely, has taken root and taking more and more over time and eventually claiming the nature for human to own.




Even though in this case is specifically talking about and leading towards land reclamation, I feel this context and pattern is applicable to other things between human and nature in general. Something that seems so ordinary is actually leading towards something dangerous for the nature, which actually include the survival of mankind.

Maybe.. soon (real soon) should be the time to map our own boundary as a human…

DD3006_04_Ivory in the Philippines

It was a great presentation with interesting new facts. One thing that strikes me me was that those sculpture reminds me of those in my relatives house. It seems so familiar yet I never knew those white face were ivory. I didn’t know that processed ivory can be such beauty and yes, it must have been really really expensive.

It was really sophisticated and wew. One aspect that I like is that the clothes and the style itself. It manages to catches attention at once (and might give the scary aura to certain extent, it feels somehow chilly though it has Christianity element).

One thing that I don’t like is that they have to destroy the illegal tusk instead of just keeping it and processing it :(. However it was true if that’s the case there might be stealing and illegal market more.

Another thing that I like from the presentation was that the group prepared the extra hidden slides that are very informative and helped out in answering many questions. 🙂

DD3006_05_Miniature Painting in Contemporary South Asian Art

Miniature paintings were not something I really heard of before (I recall we learnt a brief of it in Year 1 but I was not really paying attention at that time). Now, when I think I might have become someone who is able to see, feel and respect artworks more, I can’t helped but feel amazed. It was so small yete so intricate.

Comparing the past and the current context is really smart as, if you don’t know you don’t know. As all is relatively small, if seen at a glance the traditional and contemporary doesn’t really show a difference. The main difference is on the details which carry the different message and meaning.

A catchy thing for me is the fact that there is a special course with Diploma in Miniature Painting in Pakistan. Even though there was decline in interest, it is undeniably a way to preserve the culture and tradition.

Moreover, as said that the contemporary miniature paintings express the artist’s independent belief that grow independency from the patron’s and market’s belief, it makes me feel like that contemporary miniature painting is no longer replica of the past but it is one of the way how our generation shape our own world history.

DD3006_03_Explorers: Age of Encounter

Video on Vasco Da Gama: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/pbs-world-explorers-vasco-degama/pbs-world-explorers-vasco-degama/

Video on Magellan: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/pbs-world-explorers-ferdinand-magellan/pbs-world-explorers-ferdinand-magellan/

It was a really interesting to learn more on the beginning of era before colonialism and how the European found he major route to go to the other part of the world. Something I just found out is the presence of Spice Island which refer to the Moluccan. I had no idea that island of Indonesia had been famous since then. I thought that the main Spice Island would be in Java, especially Batavia where later VOC will come and make it a main trading point.

I watched some more of the video and realise that, as said, most of the narratives were based on the point of view of the European and how their knowledge and technology has helped to ‘discover’ and ‘conquer’ the world.

It just made me wonder what has made the European developed faster than other part of the world? Or what if actually all developed at similar rate, but the European were able to record and keep track more properly (and colonise), as well as still teaching it in education system therefore in our world history European became remembered as the main super power when relates to the age of encounter. (exception to few such as Zheng He — even though may be he had been acknowledged because of the fleet size). Has our early international history mostly been shaped by the narrative of the Western world? I think so…

DD3006_02_Art from West Africa

Video George the Poet – The Benin Bronze:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IlUMUGUorw#action=share

It was an eye-opening story in which the fate of cultural artefacts the Benin Bronze ‘plundered’ by British forces during colonialism period was being debated. It was asked whom this artefacts belong to, is it part of the Nigeria history? Or it has now become a part of British history?

To me, it really remind me (and mentioned by Sujatha as well) of the Elgin Marbles I learnt when taking DD8008 Faith & Art last semester. In the end, it feels like it comes back to the question: what is history and whom does it belong to?. Personally, I am one of those who believe that the history belong to the human race and it doesn’t matter where it is being stored geographically. As long as the items are being taken care of, it is still a proved of our history, the history of the world. Meanwhile, the word ‘own’ and ‘belong’ to me, sounds to be an egoistic phrase used for countries/museums to be ‘fighting’ over artefacts. Because eventually, the artefacts will be the reasons for visitors to come and improve their visits and tourism industry. If that is the reason, doesn’t it feel like we have lost the true meaning of preserving the history of mankind and making it to be tools that give economic benefit?

An interesting thing I remembered that is kind of related is the story of the Lampedusa cross. The story can be read here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35360682 and https://www.maristmessenger.co.nz/2017/01/31/the-carpenter-and-the-crosses/

Wooden cross of Latin type made from pieces of a boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy on 11 October, 2013. The vertical and horiziontal pieces are joined with a cross halved joint. The cross piece retains scuffed blue paint on the front, upper and lower surfaces. The front of the vertical section has layers of damaged paint. The base coat is dark green which was covered with a beige colour then painted orange. The sides and back are planed down to the timber surface. There is a small hole for suspension on the back of the vertical near the top. A fragment of an iron nail survives at the top in the right side of the cross piece. The back of the cross piece is signed F. Tuccio, Lampedusa
Wooden cross of Latin type made from pieces of a boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy on 11 October, 2013. The vertical and horiziontal pieces are joined with a cross halved joint. The cross piece retains scuffed blue paint on the front, upper and lower surfaces. The front of the vertical section has layers of damaged paint. The base coat is dark green which was covered with a beige colour then painted orange. The sides and back are planed down to the timber surface. There is a small hole for suspension on the back of the vertical near the top. A fragment of an iron nail survives at the top in the right side of the cross piece. The back of the cross piece is signed F. Tuccio, Lampedusa

In summary, a carpenter named Francisco Tuccio’s crafted “Lampedusa Cross” out of a scattered collection of driftwood washed ashore from boats carrying Eritrean refugees. Tuccio sat and witnessed migrants mourn for the losses of their loved ones and was inspired to provide a sense of hope for those that left their homes with expectations of a better life. Hence, he used pieces of driftwood to make small individual crosses for refugees that lived near him to  represent the dreams of those hoping to persist and survive. His simple gesture served as a reminder to continue to have faith. In October of 2015, his story made its way to the British Museum, which commissioned him to make a cross to encapsulate this poignant moment in history.

The story really made me feel that other than focusing on the past artefacts, we should also find works from our generation to be the ‘future artefacts’ and what we want our generation to pass on to be part of culture of the next ones.

UPDATE: researching on the Benin Bronze again, I found this news: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/benin-dialogue-group-ocotober-2018-1376824 which basically share that major museums across Europe have agreed to loan important artefacts back to Nigeria for a new Royal Museum planned to open in 2021. Even though the items will be on loan, I think it is a really good arrangement for everyone to show respect towards the humanity artefacts and giving opportunity for it to be shown in its homeland it was made. I guess, even though it is quite political and has financial reason, it is a great steps towards preserving the history of humanity together more than as per country.







The Effect of the Lampedusa Cross

Europe’s Largest Museums Will Loan Looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria’s Planned Royal Museum

The carpenter and the crosses

DD3006_01_Why you don’t like Art History!

Watching the video again, I couldn’t help but agree with its content.

Firstly,  I also feel that Art History is really not merely a linear timeline of artworks compilation but more of the interaction and influence and lives that are happening around those artworks. And the artworks, more than being prove that they really happened in the past, serve as some kind of message for the future.

It was also true that art tend to be biased and I personally feel that I remember and have tendency to be more interested into topics that I have known before. I agree that we might have been biased sometimes hence remembered incompletely.

In my opinion, a sad truth is that our current society, who statistically more illiterate and educated, might have the habit or tendency to be taking art for granted. The accessibility and convenience in finding art might have make our generation value art less. I am not talking about those who study or like art, it just based on my personal experience, I found that when I  share to others about Art History related (project-related or just interesting facts about some artwork), many of my friends will say that they have heard about it or something similar to that instead of being curious and wanting to know more.

A significant reason I could think of might be the internet that has enable everyone to know more about literally almost everything. Not saying that it is bad, I was just feeling that the access to art which was once a privilege for those of higher social status (esp in more indigenous group), or who were wealthy and more educated (esp in more modern context) has become something that is available for everyone and that might make it being taken for granted.

I don’t know, sometimes I wonder how will the civilisation in the year of, let’s say, 2500 AC see our generation. Will the only artworks left belong to those the very famous ones and those being documented and preserved properly while actually everything around us now are the works of art? How will our generation that has been saving their own records of art (i,e. life) through internet record be seen from the future? Will there be some kind of natural selection of art? Or will there be too much information that leads to some kind of ‘reset’ of art of the mankind? Or maybe… This kind of thoughts have been thought by those in the past as well… Maybe history really repeats……….

I don’t know… Well, I guess I don’t like art history because learning it somehow forces me to explore the ‘unknown’ and to face the things that is actually important-but-covered-by-daily-mundane-things-like-money,  and the messages within the artworks….. maybe sometimes it is better to not about know it. Sometimes.. (but keep learning about anything anywhere is a good thing, supposedly).

Video link: https://www.pbs.org/video/why-you-dont-like-art-history-y5lfur/