Histories of Art II: Final Project

Hi everyone! Thanks for a wonderful trip to history this semester! I definitely enjoyed myself more this semester. Shh, don’t tell Michael Walsh this. 😛

Below will be the following contents. 

  1. Prototype images
  2. Artist Statement
  3. Bibliography
  4. Presentation Slides
  5. Reflection

Our Prototype Images



Questions pointed out:

  • Why cover Naomi Neo’s face, and why was there two covers?

To show the irony in how we perceive the body differently when the ‘identity’ of the person changes.

  • How to identify Naomi Neo, and how to identify Yakshi?
  1. Naomi : Tattoos and provocative dressing.
  2. Yakshi: A pairing of bosom, jewelleries and a flowering mango tree.


The article as followed:

An Exclusive Interview with Yakshi: On her ever-changing roles

Join us on this first-ever opportunity with the goddess herself, to talk about how society’s views of one of the hottest goddesses on the block have evolved with time – is she still the goddess of fertility, or does she mean something else now? Do people see her curves in a different light? Find out here.

Hello, Yakshi, and thank you for your time with us.


You’re looking very good today – let’s start with those amazing curves of yours; how do you keep such an amazing figure?

Oh, it’s easy when you’re a goddess. I was born this way, but the sculptors and craftsmen always help compensate for the gains I make from cheat days. 

We here at FHM love those amazing hips and breasts of yours. What do you have to say about how people view you these days? Those exposed globes are sure to draw some stares these days.

*sighs* Yes, it’s irritating to look this good in this day and age. My wide hips and big breasts used to attract women from all over to pray for pregnancy and childbirth, but these days I usually get lecherous men hitting on me on Instagram.

Are you going to change your dress style? It might attract less undesirables.

I’m not covering up my chest! It’s the way I’ve dressed since forever and I’m not changing it just because people relate breasts to sex more than anything these days. Back in the day you could walk in the street and people would bow down to the Goddess of fertility, but I can’t even go down the block these days without men – with eyes the size of dinner plates, mind you – giving me all the wrong kinds of stares.

Why did you choose the Ashoka tree carving as the backdrop for this shoot?

I guess I would call it nostalgia? *giggles* I’ve been posing with it on all the Hindu and Buddhist temples’ gates for so long, I can’t imagine myself being with anything else in a picture. Besides, it really helps to accentuate my curves.

There’s talk about how you’ve got multiple personalities – what’s that about?

Oh, it’s nothing really. I’ve never really had much of a talk about this topic with anyone, so people just kind of split up my personality into many parts, which they call Yakshini. The Hindus split me up into 36 personalities in that Uddamareshava Tantra of theirs, and the Jains split me into 24. In the context of a religion of Hinduism it made sense though, when a religion revolves around a pantheon you tend to get split into easy-to understand parts.

Do the personalities get to you though? 

Actually, not really! It actually makes it easier to sort through my fan mail and prayer requests these days. I can sift through each category for Disease Protection requests, Fulfilment of Desires, Granting treasure and so on in a very systematic fashion, instead of having to dig through a pile of 36 different requests at the same time.

There’s another aspect of having multiple personalities that we here at FHM want to ask you about – rumours that you have a malevolent side?

Ah, haters these days. I guess it’s normal to be associated with evil and ill-meaning sometimes, especially when you’re considered a spiritual sibling of the demonic Rakhasas. I’m not a mean girl unless I have to be. Also! If you’re talking about that story where Sulpäni disturbed Lord Mahävir’s meditation, that was my brother Yaksha’s fault.

Hmm. Just to make sure though, because we’ve heard stories of you seducing men and drinking their blood, and that’s not exactly a sexy thing.

Oh, that nonsense. I don’t know who started it, but Southern Indian horror fiction writers did this thing where they wrote me into folktales as a succubus of sorts. Just because I’m dressed like this and have malevolent rumours about me was enough to make me a horror femme fatale archetype, I guess. 

The story I know is how I was a murdered courtesan that reincarnated as a vengeful Yakshi that seduced men and killed them afterwards. It’s all horror fiction from the local folklore, though.

Wow, a far cry from a goddess of fertility, indeed.

Yeah, it’s hard being a goddess in this day and age, especially when your characterising factor is your body and exposed breasts. Sexuality has really changed in the past few centuries, and people don’t see my bosom as a mother feeding their child anymore. It’s all about the sex and porn these days. 

I see. Is there anything you’re up to these days?

Well, since my fan club has shrunk a lot I’ve had to find employment as a nude model. Art schools are a really great place to work, by the way! Standing like a statue while half-naked has been my thing since the beginning, so it’s like second nature to me. I’ve also been getting in the Free the Nipple movement lately, since I want the freedom to flaunt my original dress code in public.

Awesome. Thank you so much for your time.

You’re welcome. Namaste.

Artist Statement

The image shown is a modern interpretation of the Indian Buddhist Goddess, Yakshi. Traditionally associated with the idea of fertility and nature in ancient India, she was identified through her large, round breasts, small waist and large thighs and hips. These days, the voluptuous body that Yakshi possesses may be interpreted in a totally different way. In the modern world, sexual objectification of women have become much more commonplace, and a voluptuous body such as hers may be seen as a tool of pleasure in the eyes of men. It is no longer associated with the idea of being fertile or baby conceiving, but instead as means of sexual gratification.  As such, we decided to remove Yakshi from her traditional context to show this shift in perspective towards the well-endowed body. To effectively bring across the point, we placed her into a modern piece of media that portrayed women in a more provocative manner that man would find sexually attractive.

The ambiguity created in the poster is also intentional, and meant to make viewers question the state of modern female sexuality in media; is the woman’s sexuality being subverted as part of a man-made construct, in the same way religion is sometimes criticized as a man-made construct? Or is the Yakshi/model exerting power with her sexuality, in the same way a goddess attracts worshippers? Just as how we have no idea if the models in FHM covers are happily and willingly doing their job, and as we have no idea if Yakshi is an influence or a result of influence, the state of female sexuality in the modern day is in a state of undefined flux.

Known for featuring the ‘hottest’ women on the planet, FHM was our choice of medium on which we would appropriate Yakshi. To localise it, we designed a Singaporean FHM cover featuring Yakshi in the form of Naomi Neo, a popular blogger known for her voluptuous body and outspoken attitude about sexuality. As such, we have created an artwork that appropriates Yakshi as a social statement and reflection on how much the meaning of a woman’s body have changed over the years.


Represented in sculpture since approximately 200 B.C.E., the yakshi has always been conceived as a voluptuous creature with large globular breasts, small waist, and exaggerated hips and thighs. Bhattacharya’s female fatale, entwined by the vine that signifies her tie to nature, has tubular arms that echo the essence of the creeper. Her partner, emerging from the center of the flower, is literally the spirit of the plant-a common definition for yaksha/yakshi

  • Unclothed sensual, feminine figure as one of the most canonical motifs of Indian art.“ART HISTORY AND THE NUDE: ON ART, OBSCENITY, AND SEXUALITY IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA”. 2004. “ART HISTORY AND THE NUDE: ON ART, OBSCENITY, AND SEXUALITY IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA”. In Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Post-colonial India, 237–67. Columbia University Press. http://www.jstor.org.ezlibproxy1.ntu.edu.sg/stable/10.7312/guha12998.13.

Over different periods and genres, the voluptuous feminine body in sculpture came to be endowed with a variety of meanings. The figures came to be read as symbols of growth, bounty, and fertility, as the embodiment of a divine maternal spirit, or as classical literary ideals. In the process, the sexual form moved from its initial primeval association with nature and fertility rites to its later, more complex divine and aesthetic connotations.

  • Interacting Like a Body: Objectification Can Lead Women to Narrow Their Presence in Social Interactions. Saguy, Tamar, Diane M. Quinn, John F. Dovidio, and Felicia Pratto. 2010. “Interacting Like a Body: Objectification Can Lead Women to Narrow Their Presence in Social Interactions”. Psychological Science 21 (2). [Association for Psychological Science, Sage Publications, Inc.]: 178–82. http://www.jstor.org.ezlibproxy1.ntu.edu.sg/stable/41062184.

Sexual objectification occurs when a person is viewed as a mere body that exists for the pleasure and use of others (Bartky, 1990). This treatment targets women more often than men. For these reasons, women are theorized to willingly participate in their own objectification and become preoccupied with appearing as “good objects” (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997).Drawing on these ideas, we predicted that when objectified, women would try not only to appear as good objects, but also to behave like ones.

Taking reference from contemporary Indian art, much of which centres around adapting Indian cultural symbolism, was an important stepping stone in our process. Ravinder Reddy and other contemporary Indian artists’ works subvert or transform the meaning of traditional religious figures such as Kali and Yakshi into modern-day works into modern-day contexts, which served as an inspiration for our project.

Presentation Slides

Here is the ppt slides in pdf format for viewing again.



Firstly, I would like to address that this last assignment was really enjoyable and educational as adding a modern twist towards history really heightened my interest in it and made me want to find out more myself.

For our project, we chose a controversial topic that might be uncomfortable to some as it includes nudity or part of it. Though we struggle with ourselves with the question of going ahead with the idea or choosing something more family friendly, we decided that if our creation provokes something in someone, be it good or bad, we have already succeeded in something. What is art if it doesn’t make you think or make you feel? That is what we are going with and are proud of our end results.

Adding on to the previous point, to make someone connect to something, the most basic is to create a connection, a relatable point of view. Taken in the consideration that the piece is based in Singapore, we decided to have a twist with the iconic FHM magazine and well-known blogger Neomi Neo, both merging with the piece to create something that people would understand better with their contextual knowledge.

We also didn’t want to neglect only the visuals and added a witty spread as seen from our final presentation to add interest and have a better execution as a whole project.

Lastly, working as a team, we had to agree that different people have different set of skillsets. To understand what the individual would excel with, and assigning it to them would hugely benefit the group, like how Jo Inng is good in her writing and Evangeline her digital painting. Overall I feel that our team was quite a well rounded one and am glad to be paired with them.

Thank you!



Histories of Art II: Visual Response Proposal

Chosen subject: Indian Buddhism

Group Mates: Chio Jo Inng, Alfred Yeo, Evangeline Ng, Lu Jia Xian

Museum Visited: Asian Civilisation Museum
Chosen Object: Gateway Bracket with four shalabhanjikas


Some cheeky snapchats I took when we visited the ACM! 😛

“Wanna be on top”- America’s next top model reference, haha.

You can identify Yakshi by her huge bosom, curvy figure and excessive pieces of jewellery.

We decided to appropriate this particular sculpture that we saw at the Asian Civilisation Museum.

File_001 (1)

Yakshi was traditionally considered a goddess of fertility because of her figure. However, in a modern context, such a voluptuous body would be linked to the idea of sexuality rather than fertility and baby making.

Modern interpretation

From what I have found, one of the modern interpretations was the Malampuzha Yakshi recently refurbished by Kanayi Kunhiraman, but was first created in 1969.


As you can see it presents her really provocatively from my viewpoint.

Our Proposal

We thought it would be interesting to remove Yakshi from her past context to bring across the exploitation of a woman’s body for sexual purposes. To make this point stronger, we decided to create a FHM cover featuring Yakshi.


support #bosombuddies y’all! 😀

Histories of Art II: Week 8 Introduction and Paragraph

  1. What is Chinese tomb art? Compare two terracotta figures from the Qin dynasty.

Chinese tomb art was started with the belief of an after life and that early rulers has to be provided even after they pass, similarly like an extension of their worldly life. The most prominent example of this was set in the Qin dynasty which was reigned by Emperor Qin Shi Huang where he ordered the reproduction of thousands of terracotta figures in preparation for his grave. The figures mainly resemble soldiers and that in one of the discovered pits, pit no. 1, it contains more than 6000 figures of warriors and horses. Narrowing on the terracotta who were archers, you would notice that the ones who were kneeling were armoured while the ones standing were not. One would wonder, why would the Emperor have some protected and some not. Wouldn’t it to be logical to have all of them decked in armour, or was it to mimic as closely towards real life to heighten the reality of an after life?

The material of each terracotta figure were made differently to represent and accentuate their different roles as Emperor Qin’s warriors. The standing archers were dressed in a robe-like texture which was emphasised with the creases and folds on it. The fact that they are standing further stresses that they are in need to be moving around and thus have material that would be “allowed for speed and maneuverability”1 for close fighting. In contrast, the kneeling archer were dressed in a scale-like armour which appears to be of a harder material based on the straight and non malleable texture. This again based on the way they are position, kneeling down, you can deduce that they were meant to be at a stagnant position when in need of battle and thus does not have the necessity to wear materials that require for better movement. Looking at the different armour and materials that were decided for each individual role, you can tell that they were genuinely mirrored and represented as soldiers that are in a real combat, they “were not fancy but were efficient”2.

The sizes were made in exact ratio for the terracotta army. For both the standing and kneeling archer, they were seen to have sizes that replicate to the size of a human, the standing being approximately 178cm, while the kneeling 122cm. From this you can notice that they are created in a way that it is mathematically correct and that if the standing terracotta were to be bended in the same way as the kneeling, they would have roughly the same height. Looking into this, it again emphasis on how they are created in a way that realness was put into emphasis. The efficiency of the terracotta working in the after life and it being replicated as closely to real life must have been a real concern for Qin Shi Huang.3


1 Ledderose, Lothar. Ten thousand things: module and mass production in Chinese art (Princeton University Press, 2000), 53. 

2 Ledderose, Lothar. Ten thousand things: module and mass production in Chinese art (Princeton University Press, 2000), 64. 

2 Ledderose, Lothar. Ten thousand things: module and mass production in Chinese art (Princeton University Press, 2000), 68.


Histories of Art II: Essay Proposal

What is Chinese tomb art? Compare two terracotta figures from the Qin dynasty.


  • Explanation of Chinese tomb art
  • Information of the Qin dynasty
  • Information of the First Emperor
  • Information of the terracotta army
  • Tentative claim: Why would the terracotta army have such individually different facial features even in a time when communism is so strong? One theory is that the First Emperor believe in an after life was so strong that he wanted to mimic the real life (people with different looks) to fit in after he rule in his death.


  • Introduction to the Kneeling Archer
  • Explanation on features
  • Introduction to the Terracotta Sergeant (I was thinking if I should have 2 of the same rank & position, like another kneeling archer, to boost my claim of individualism even in a situation when they are meant to be the same)
  • Explanation on features
  • Compare their features and explain the similarities and differences


  • Briefly present all the information again
  • Conclude your argument or present new thought/ways of looking at the issue if I have any.

Histories of Art II: Week 4 Journal, Team 1’s Presentation

First of all good job Raj, Fern, Julianna, and Feli! I really enjoyed the presentation that you guys had put up for us.

Firstly free food! *Hint hint to the next group LOL* Haha you know you already won half the battle when you have people like me rushing from my morning class with a growling stomach! But really it was very engaging from the QnA (start) to the end! The bananas, jasmine scent, candies(!) and the 360 view transported me out of the little room with too little chairs into the hindu temple!

I love how organised the slides were and also everyone had equally interesting facts to present which was great.

Awesome job!

Histories of Art II: Week 2 Journal, Fav. Buddhist Temple.

Question: What is your favourite Buddhist Temple in Singapore? Why?

The oldest memories of me going to a Buddhist Temple in Singapore was when I was really young (7-12). My Father used to be really religious, went to one weekly which was called Palelai Buddhist Temple, and from time to time he would bring my brothers and me along. It was never about religion for us, it was merely like a trip out of home, sprinkled with the addition of a joy ride in the car.

If my memory serves me right, there was a large gold statue of Buddha as evidenced with the image above and a four faced statue at the outside. There was an incident where the coiled incense that was hanging around had one of the end burned off and accidentally entered the inside of my shirt, I was burned badly and even had a raw red wound for a long time! (Just checked and though still there, the scar has reduced to a tiny red dot).

I remember the place to be smelling of incense, always coming home with my shirt pungent with it. I remember the constant chant that was playing in the background in the inside of the Temple. I remember that the sky was always sunny when I visited the place.

So to answer the question of why this was my favourite Temple, I feel that it was the memories that I had intertwined with the place, and the relationship I had with my father which made the place familiar to me.


Histories of Art II: Week 1 Journal, How do you learn best?

Hi, Alfred here! 🙂

So to introduce my learning style, this is something that I have not really taken noticed of, but from reviewing my techniques, I think I’m more of a visual learner!

If you are a visual learner, you learn by reading or seeing pictures. You understand and remember things by sight. You can picture what you are learning in your head, and you learn best by using methods that are primarily visual. You like to see what you are learning.

Here are some things that visual learners like me can do to learn better:

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. 
  • Use flashcards to learn new information.
  • Try to visualise things that you hear or things that are read to you.
  • Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
  • Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
  • Colour code things.
  • Avoid distractions during study times.

Being able to see things, and not just hearing them helps me learn well and absorb the knowledge better.

Howard gardner’s multiple intelligences theory

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.46.12 pm copy

intelligence type capability and perception
Linguistic √ words and language √
Logical-Mathematical logic and numbers
Musical music, sound, rhythm
Kinaesthetic √ body movement control √
Visual / Spatial √ images and space √
Interpersonal √ other people’s feelings √
Intrapersonal √ self-awareness √

The above is a test I took online to have a little insight on my multiple intelligence, I took the test over here.

The chart box has a little summarisation of what each intelligence means and as much as I wasn’t surprise of the answer, it serves as a confirmation and could help me in future analysis of myself and use it in my study techniques.