Death of Friendship

August 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Words of Caution: The following post offers a chance to let your imagination run wild, er, if you have any…Certainly not recommended for those faint hearted. Itchyfingers would not be held responsible if anyone starts to get recurring nightmares…:p

Last Saturday, Itchyfingers visited the newly opened 8Q Museum at Queens Street with much anticipation. This is the Singapore Art Museum‘s new wing for the contemporary arts.


8Q on the former premises of the Catholic High Primary School

One of the many works that struck me was the one titled “Caretaker”, which took reference from the Japanese-American diplomatic relation in the 20th century. With the arrival of many Japanese immigrants to the United States in the early 1900s, a project to ease the tension and conflict was inititated. Named “Friendship Doll Project“, the Americans raised funds and bought dolls to send to the children of Japan as a goodwill gesture in 1927. These “Blue-Eyed Dolls” arrived just in time for the Japanese annual Doll Festival. In response, the Japanese sent 58 specially-commissioned Friendship Dolls dressed in traditional kimonos to the US.

Sadly, when the World World II began, these dolls in both countries were perceived as symbols of the enemy, and many were burned and destroyed. Luckily, some were saved because people remembered the message of friendship.

In “Caretaker”, the artist took us to a space with half-opened cupboard doors. A custodian of this space, we were able to peep into his world of personal belongings, not knowing that we were actually the ones unable to escape his from watchful eyes…


Dusty drawers, old keys, alarm clock and old reading materials…just what
was it that the Caretaker wanted to hold on to?


We peeped into his collection and he watched our every moves…


Cupboards arranged in a enclosed manner, with doors left opened for
the curious to take a peep…

One really got a little shock looking at what was inside the cupboard…


Faces of different dolls displayed neatly on the doors of the cupboards.
Somehow the look of these dolls were kinda eerie…especially in old
black and white pictures and under the dim lighting. Without flash,
most pictures turned out blurred like this one, adding on to the ghostly feel…


See! Some of these dolls looked seriously eerie! Someone remarked
that they reminded her of the old movie, “Chucky”!


The cupboards were lined from top to bottom with these cardboard
boxes, each stucked with names of the dolls that were supposedly
sent to Japan in 1927


A close up of one of the boxes…

Oh my goodness…it just made me feel like they were coffins of the dolls, which looked uncannily like dead children! Being itchyfingers, I lifted one of the boxes to check with it was ‘occupied’ by any ‘bodies’ of the dolls….Nope, none inside, or maybe just spirits…? There was silence except the tickings from the old alarm clock…the mocked computer touch screens were left perpetually on the same menu page…everything seemed to be on a standstill…

Lifeless…clueless…eternity…

Also see related posts:
> Post Đổi Mới – Vietnamese Art After 1990
> Xu Beihong in Nanyang

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