Artist and Empire Part 1

Last month, while looking around for new exhibitions to go to, I chanced upon “Artist & Empire”. It is quite fascinating to see how artists express themselves in these art pieces even though I can’t quite appreciate them all. After Sir Stamford Raffles found Singapore in 1819, Singapore became part of British Empire until it got its independence from merging with Malaysia in 1963.  Besides Singapore, we are able to see drawings from Australia, New Zealand and other countries that used to come under British Rule. Like I always learnt from History lesson, there is one olden saying “The sun will never set under the British Empire” shows how vast their empire was.

As there are too many art pieces showcased in this exhibition, I shall break them into a few part series. For those who are interested, you may visit National Gallery, Singtel Special Gallery from now till 26 March 2017. Price for Adult Ticket is fixed at $15 for Singaporean and PRs and those who produced Passion Card at the payment counter shall enjoy further 10% discount on ticket. In the end, I paid $11.

You might note that all other galleries are free entry to Singaporeans.

Expeditions were never new to the European Colonial Masters. Since Medieval period, Europeans empires has been travelling across continents to search for new land either to trade or to spread religious beliefs to these new land.

For South East Asian countries, Portuguese and Spanish were first to reach Malacca  and Manila respectively followed by the Dutch and British at the later stage. The French only reached in late 1800s. New colonies means new revenue and power influence for these colonial masters which brewed an imaginary competition. Because of colonialism, British reign to become the most powerful country in the world at that point of time.

The road to colonialism and de-colonialism was never easy path and usually it led to war and struggle. Through these art pieces at the early stage, we will be able to learn the perceptions of the artist versus the reality of the story behind these art pieces.

Entrance to the exhibition. You can enjoy free wifi in National Gallery by simply logging on to their Open- Net. Explanation of the tour can be done through “National Gallery” App. But still, I felt National Museum of Singapore had a better multi- media setup.  This art piece is one of the four photographs taken by Artist Michael Cook – named “Exploration and Expansion” where he re-conceptualize Captain James Cook landing in  Australia.  
 Mr Robinson’s First Interview with Timmy by Benjamin Duterrau painted in 1840. 
  This painting showing  George Augustus Robinson, a Christian Missionary who was working for the British government in early 1830s interviewed the Aboriginal people in Tasmina.  (Do not go thinking that the white people are the original people in Australia!) In this painting, it shows Mr Robinson commanding posture but yet friendly to Timmy, who put his trust in him. Duterrau illustrated Robinson as a hero and also a schemer  which as a result of his persuasion, many aboriginal people moved to Flinders Island and died of diseases there. 
This artwork is drawn by an unknown artist drawn around 1829 – 1830. Here it is showing how resistance towards the British resulted in these aboriginal people getting killed. 

I didn’t really took the details of this art piece because I thought it will be available somewhere. What I can remember that the artist wanted to illustrate the failure of this French Sailor who did not manage to find any lucrative land after many expeditions, sat in despair however was not disheartened. It was not mentioned who that lady was or what was her role here. But this drawing was exquisitely done. 
This drawing was drawn in 1893 by Allan Stewart. (Property of Russell Cates Art Gallery)                 It was called the Last Stand of Major Wilson at Shangani. Shangani was a place in Matabele, now Zimbabwe. Apparently, the British was attacked by the local people which they retaliated and caused huge Matabele people’s loss. See that the painting uses dark colors? This is because the attack was done in surprise when the British troops were asleep. Every corner of this drawing was drawn to real life and it is one of my favorite.  Sir Charles Warre Malet concluding a treaty in 1790 in Dunbar with the Peshwa of the Mratha Empire by Thomas Daniell in 1805.  Malet upon returning to England, appointed Thomas Daniell to draw incidents he encounter in India. 
 General Gordon’s Last Stand by George William Joy in 1893. This painting depicts General Charles George Gordon as a hero who died defending the city of Khartoum against Muslim attackers. However what in reality happens was very different from this drawing, General Gordon disregarded government orders to evacuate Khartoum when it came under siege by local forces to end the British rule in Sudan. As a result, he was hacked into pieces. Rather to portray a humiliating side of General Gordon, George William Joy focused on the last moment of General Gordon which he looked haughtily at his attackers.

  To be continued….

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple

Wat Rong Khun situated in Chiang Rai, commonly known as The White Temple, was one of the greatest artifact built by modern means in today’s history. In the past, I always thought that The White Temple was a real temple with deities for people to offers their praying to.

But it isn’t.

This temple was build by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a thai visual artist which originally was a painter. Starting in 1996, he combined both Buddhism and Hinduism in Wat Rong Khun which he believes this master piece will lead him to immortality. Till today, he is still working in the park and will never stop unless he pass on in future. The inital cost of building costed him 40 Million THB which nearly impossible for him to carry on which at a later stage, relies on donations and entrance fee to sustain.

For Thai, it is free of charge but for foreigner, every ticket cost 50 THB. I think it is quite reasonable considering the amount of hard work he placed in this temple.

In my opinion, Asian Buildings have one similarity – pointed roof top. Regardless where they are found, the basis of Asian Cultures starts with this.

Like its name, the white temple’s only color is white which I guess symbolizes Purity.

 This place is really crowded with tourist all over the world. It is hard to get photos of the main building without photobomb by humans.

Entering the main building requires taking off shoes and you have to walk barefooted. They do not allow us to take photo of a real life wax figuring of seated monk and you have to practice real silence when you are in the real hall.

There is no real Buddhas in this temple, whatever you see around is pure for visual art and admiration.

 I think this place is a must – go tourist attraction if you are holidaying in Chiang Rai. However, do avoid year end because weather is not as cooling as March / April as some would say.

Cannot afford

How well are you able to tell the sincerity of a person?

I believe actions are louder than words.

Some people just can’t afford to have even a meal with you because you are no longer in use to them. Even though they keep saying that they want to… but there are 365 days a year, they can’t even afford 2 hours with you.

I shouldn’t wait anymore.

Be Strong, my Heart.


What A Person I am

How many different side of faces are you revealing yourself to the others every single day?

Who will you give the most truest reflection to?
Image may contain: one or more people, text and closeup

Today I am going to reveal a little about myself.

I am a introvert – extrovert meaning to say, I looked like an introvert but yearning for a life that the extrovert leads. It is a bad habit to envy. I will rather seize the chance to experience the life that I hope to lead however I do know that everyone have a different route to go. Most of the time, I tried and failed and wonder how did others managed to succeed.

Is it through their own capabilities or by other means?

Yes, I tend to overthink. Even though most of the time it is none of my business.

Introvert people are honest, in my opinion because they seldom share their feelings to other people. Even if they lie, most of the time are white lies that they do not want other people to know in order not to disappoint or to anger them.

I am pretty honest. When I say I like a person, I do like that person. When I avoid talking about that person, I do not like that person. Simple.

When there is a need to claim for insurance, I always claim for the exact value of the item. For instance, the Tea Cup that was lost in the fire and also my travel medical bills. I do not like to exaggerate things in afraid that there are other misfortune that falls beneath me. Since birth, i have been an unlucky person who always got into trouble even though I am not the instigator .

End of my babbling, it doesn’t make any sense at all.