Project: Yakshi / FHM (OSS Posts HERE)
Group Members: Alfred Yeo, Ching Jo Inng, Evangeline Ng, Lu Jia Xian
Subject: Indian Buddhism
Museum Visited: Asian Civilizations Museum
For this project, we chose to appropriate the traditional goddess / beings of fertility in Buddhist/Hindu/Jain mythology, Yakshi. We chose to appropriate her as her exposed dressing and her volumptious figure that was associated with childbirth and fertility, would be seen purely for its sexual and erotic value in today’s sex and porn-obsessed world.
I felt that this project allowed us to take Art History into consideration beyond just a simple subject that we would study and do a test for. It helped us as future artists to consider art styles and aesthetics in History when we do our own personal projects. Sometimes, the best inspiration comes from tried and tested things from the past, and sometimes subverting or twisting the narrative and context helps to bring across a new social commentary.
When doing the writing for the ficitional Yakshi Interview, I was compelled and challenged to think of how a goddess would translate into modern life; would she be overwhelmed by how society views her these days? Would she be subject to the gossip and wide-eyed scopophilic gaze of men in a hypersexualised world? Overall, I felt that I walked away from the project not only knowing more about Yakshi / Yakshinis, but also beginning to understand how appropriation is a powerful tool for an artist and how the past eventually correlates to the present and future.