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2020/ 2021— Uncursed Cotton/ Buang Suay

2020/ September, NGS Out of Isolation Corvid19, Perspectives online, National Gallery Singapore’s online publishing platform for research, conversations, insights, as well as its behind-the-scenes work.

Also duplicated here; Video edited by Johann Yamin

This series of performances come about having met Smiha Kapoor who interned for me while I was working on StayHomeQuilt in Yishun. It was a leisurely Pandemic lockdown time to work, so I could review my works for AYearinJava that has not been properly exhibited together nor documented.

I have started to cut up one of the SeamstressRaffles to see if I can capture the performative aspect watch recalling my Javanese seamstresses cutting, needling, stuffing and handling the body parts of Raffles in the making of an effigy. I videoed myself cutting one up and posted on IGStory which led to curator of NGS to ask me to work on something for NGS online. My dis-satisfaction being that optically as a male form cutting up the effigy was not quite right.

Smiha said she wants to do performances and in workshopping with her in Yishun, it seems she is the right body to enact an undoing of the effigy. I have quickly refashion remnant clothes from the effigy into genitals that I affixed back on. The effigy was initially "castrated" in the former SeamstressRaffles form. Seven performances followed, with Smiha not just disembowelling, but fraying the skin in different tanning process. The point then is not so much to further punish or inflict pain, but to make a useful human skin out of the effigy.....the only cancelling affordable to a once-monument. The resulted skin is a new artwork as Uncursed Cotton.

2020/ October, Instagram livestreams of Uncursing Cotton on artist Instagram @AYearinJava .

These InstagramsTV livestreams performed by Smiha Kapoor then became a collaboration for another NUS Museum online video in 2021.

2021/February performance online, NUS Museum

this video courtesy of NUS Museum edit. The artist's version would be three phone-devices banded sidebyside playing 3 IGTVs of the same performance in synchronised 'real time'.

Buang Suay is an old colloquiums that is a composite Malay-Hokkien word referring to the racist act of contracting a sexworker of a lower caste to cast off one's bad luck.

A Raffles skin is made useful as a prayer rug, an offering; in turn becomes a shag rug to cast off colonial legacy / Racial hangups/ exorcise exotic desire for whiteness? .

More photos of "Uncursed Cotton" the object during and post performance:


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