Final Reflection: Team Bossom Buddies

Final Product! –

It has definitely been a really fun and interesting semester with all the creative and fun presentations and group projects! (It beats having to take tests, duh!)

For our final project, we settled on appropriating the goddess, Yakshi. It was overall a great idea and it was definitely fun exploring how a voluptuous body like what Yakshi had, meant in today’s context and what were the implications of it.


During our final presentation (Whew!), we were posted a few questions and I would like to cover the answers in this post.

  • 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
    • We used Yakshi’s head imposed on Naomi Neo’s body on both the front cover and back cover in order to emphasise on the ambiguity of how the front cover could be a photoshoot of virtually almost any “Instagram-famous” female who has chosen to dress and pose this way. The lady in the front cover, in every way matches well with the FHM design and template, due to how she is posed and is scantily dressed. It is almost safe to say that “Insta-famous” ladies such as @euniceannabelle, @withlovevic, @charlottelum, @nicolechangmin etc.. have no issues with posting photos of themselves in bikinis on their instagram accounts. 
  • How to identify Naomi Neo, and how to identify Yakshi?
    • Naomi : Tattoos and provocative dressing
    • Yakshi: Mango tree
    • Besides the idea of covering up Naomi Neo’s face on the front cover to explain the idea that this body could really belong to any Singaporean girl, Naomi Neo can be identified by the tattoo on her right leg. Also, she’s known for a video she posted titled “It’s Just Boobs.” As a reaction video to instagram users who commented about her provocative photo by revealing her side boob.

Print yakshi_rgb


Overall, it was a really fun experience working with my group mates and visiting the Asian Civilisation Museum! During this journey, we had ideas we had to dump and to take on new ones and debating as a group was really tiring yet rewarding!

Thank you for viewing our final project: Yakshi X Naomi Neo! 🙂

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Histories of Art II: Bosom Buddies Reflection

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Revised comments after presentation: “How do we know that FHM women choose to be on the magazine cover? Is it a general statement?”

Our group member, Jia xian proposed to use this ambiguity and match it with the ambiguity of the origin of religion. So we propose that the woman’s sexuality a man made construct, just like how religion is criticized as a man-made construct.

For the comparison between Yakshi and Naomi Neo, we can talk about how they both have power – Yakshi has the power to gain worshippers and Naomi Neo also has power to gain followers on social media however in a negative way. In the sense that young readers are susceptible to believing what Naomi Neo posts online.


New Thesis:

While the voluptuous body of Yakshi was seen as a
sign of fertility in the past, that same body today would
be seen as a tool of sexual objectification. The status of a goddess as a divine being versus man-made construct, reflects modern-day ambiguity of sexual empowerment versus exploitation.


New 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.


#bosombuddies 🙂

Art History: Introduction + Claim


The general purpose of Chinese bronze vessels was to communicate with spirits, usually that of their ancestors. Food and wine are placed in these bronze vessels as offerings, and communication was usually through inscriptions on the bronzes for the ancestors as well as to future generations. The bronze vessels are decorated with intricate designs called “tao tie” 饕餮, often recognized by a protruding frontal animal-like mask with prominent eyes. These “tao tie” creatures were transformed from naturalistic prototypes such as the ox, sheep, tiger and reptiles, representing the spirits of these animals that were sacrificed in order to communicate with the unseen spirits. [1] These bronze vessels were hence an essential element in the cultural life of a group of people who employed these artefacts in some aspects of their lives.  This essay aims to assess whether the bronze vessels in the Shang dynasty were merely ornamental crafts or if they serve a certain cultural purpose. Two bronze vessels, li 鬲, have been chosen to examine the claim. Firstly, the Bo Ju li伯钜 鬲(Figure 1) is decorated with prominent taotie design. It features a protruding buffalo-horned creature on its cover-lid. Bo Ju li possesses ornaments fashioned in an early Zhou style, a variant of the late Shang phase of the ornament system.[2] The second vessel chosen for examination is the Mai li 麥鬲 (Figure 2). Its simple style of an inward curved neck dates it as an early Zhou creation though some posit that it is a debatable late Shang vessel. It is important to note that the determining the period the vessel was created depends on the study of its form and decoration, and we should viewed with a certain flexibility instead of confining it to a set period of dynasty. In this essay, I would like to argue that the bronze vessels do possess cultural significance although some may argue that is it mainly for its aesthetical and ornamental purposes.

[1] Department of Asian Art. “Shang and Zhou Dynasties: The Bronze Age of China.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2004

[2] Shih, Hsio-Yen. 1972. “The Study of Ancient Chinese Bronzes as Art and Craft”. World Archaeology 3 (3). Taylor & Francis, Ltd.: 267–75.

Art History: Week II Journal– Favourite Buddhist Temple

Foo Hai Chan Monastery

Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery (Chinese: 福海禅寺), is a Buddhist monastery in Singapore. The foundation was originally set up by Venerable Hong Zong of Taiwan. The present premises are located at Geylang, Singapore.


Main Deity 主神/佛
Guanyin 观音Other temples with this as main deity

Other Deities 众神/佛
Buddha 释迦牟尼佛

Siddhartha Centre 盘古圣皇佛堂
Pan Gu 盘古
Tai Shang Lao Jun 太上老君
Guanyin 观音
Mile Fo (Maitreya) 米勒佛
He Ye Yun 何野云
Ji Gong 济公

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Morning Gong –

“In the morning, the gong is set to create a stream of intense sounds followed by a slow pace. This is to remind the mass that they are have come to the end of a long night and do not indulge oneself in deep unconsciousness; in the evening, the gong is sounded in the reverse order, that is, slow then a faster pace, this is to remind everyone that they should be aware of illusions and unconsciousness; also that they must help relieve all beings in the nether world from suffering. The gongs in Chinese Temples are sounded one hundred and eight times each time, because sentient beings have one hundred and eight types of worries.”

With that being said, my father led my family up to the platform to sound off the gong so as to “scare off the demons” in his words. (I’m not sure if we’re allowed to do that but nobody came to stop us anyway.)

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“Incense along with flowers and fruit represent some of the primary gifts that Buddhist practitioners offer during Buddhist prayer or on their altars. Incense in particular stands for ethics and morality. But these offerings only have meaning if the follower also has right conduct. Incense also reminds the practitioner of the path of the Middle Way, or moderation, and offers the key to enlightenment and Buddhahood. It creates a feeling of serenity.”

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Guanyin –

“In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yin is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy, compassion, kindness and love.
(Bodhisattva- being of bodhi or enlightenment, one who has earned to leave the world of suffering and is destined to become a Buddha, but has forgone the bliss of nirvana with a vow to save all children of god.”

“Guan Yin is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called “the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes” Bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy, while the thousand eyes help her see anyone who may be in need.”

Guanyin is a deity I can easily relate to as my mother has exposed me to her ways of teaching since young. To me, Guanyin is benevolent and kind, yet at the same time she is strong and in a sense, omnipotent.

On this trip, the interior of the temple was closed hence we were unable to enter and pay our respects hence I could not get a good photo of Thousand-arms Guanyin.

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Bodhi Tree – 

From the photo above:

“A branch of the Bodhi Tree in Bodhigaya, India where Lord Buddha attained enlightment presented by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka


24 December 1991″

“The Bodhi-Tree is a symbolic representation of the individual’s journey to infinity. As the seed which begins tiny and hard grows open and free, so should the mind and heart. The tree is rooted in the ground as the self is rooted in matter. But the seed grows beyond the ground, as it perceives its environment, cares about it, and ultimately leaves the limitations of the body and matter behind. The branches reach towards the heavens yet the vines of the banyan reach towards the earth. Such is the state of mankind – always being pulled in two directions. One direction is freedom, ultimate liberation, and the transcendence of boundaries. The other direction is security, rootedness, comfort, and tradition – the self that will not turn away from the earth. Some people may justify behavior by Buddhist or other ethics and ritual, but will ultimately seek comfort rather than freedom. Such people should rest peacefully at the roots of the tree and never climb it.

For the others, the spiritual explorers, comfort and security are left behind. There will ultimately come a question: Which world do you choose? Only those who seek the upper branches of the tree and liberation can progress and follow the stages of the watches of the night.

There were many reasons for the historical Buddha’s incarnation. One was to provide a model for those that seek freedom.

The Bodhi Tree is easily characterised by the heart-shaped leaves and the tail of the leaf that curls up, towards the sky.



Pen sketch of the Morning Gong at Foo Hai Chan Monastery which I later went home to add some splashes of watercolour.

Overall, the visit to Foo Hai Chan Monastery made me feel peaceful especially in a hectic environment and schedule due to studying in a University. The simple yet modern(due to the marble flooring) architecture of the Monastery is pleasant and inviting.

Art History: Week I Journal

“Last week, we learned about different learning styles from Sir Ken Robinson. How do you learn best?”

Basically I took the easy way out by doing several surveys from websites such as Buzzfeed (, and education planner ( Links attached so you can try it for yourself!

Anyway, results were mostly Visual!

“You’re a visual, or spatial, learner. Charts and graphs have always been the best way for you to absorb information. Invest in a whiteboard because when you’re trying to learn, drawing a picture will help things stick.”

Education planner even gave some advices on how to improve my study methods:

“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.

As a visual learner, you are usually neat and clean. You often close your eyes to visualize or remember something, and you will find something to watch if you become bored. You may have difficulty with spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. You are attracted to color and to spoken language (like stories) that is rich in imagery.

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

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. (It won’t mean you’re the teacher’s pet!)
  • Have your eyesight checked on a regular basis.
  • Use flashcards to learn new words.
  • Try to visualize 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.
  • Color code things.
  • Avoid distractions during study times.

Remember that you need to see things, not just hear things, to learn well.”


At the end of the day, everyone learns differently and I’m glad that I am aware of which learning style suits me best!