Seminars and Lectures

Upcoming: ‘Effigies of our Ancestors’ Lecture at the Peranakan Museum Singapore 


Effigies of our Ancestors
28 May 2014 (Wednesday)
7 to 8.30pm Ixora Room, Peranakan Museum, Singapore 39 Armenian Street

To the Chinese, death is regarded as a point of transition and not a final absolute. Despite Singapore’s rapid modernisation, ancestor veneration remains an important component of religious practices today. This lecture sheds light on the particularities of Chinese death rituals amongst the Peranakan Chinese community in Singapore.The spatial dynamics of a traditional Peranakan home is testament to the importance of ancestor veneration. Rituals are performed in halls assigned exclusively as spaces for ancestor worship, where filial descendants place food offerings at the family altar bearing the portrait scrolls, framed paintings or photographs of their forefathers. The first part of the lecture discusses these issues.As the power of the living person is believed to reside in his/her portrait after death, the Chinese ancestor portrait functions as both an effigy as well as a reliquary. This lecture discusses the cultural significance of domestic mortuary rituals and the role of the ancestor portrait as a point of intercession. The speaker will also comment on the various styles and functions of portraiture produced under the patronage of the Chinese in Colonial Singapore.

This lecture is free and organised in conjunction with the special exhibition, Auspicious Designs: Batik for Peranakan Altars. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration is required.


Public Lecture: The Production and Patronage of Portraiture in Colonial Singapore
5 Feb 2014
The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Public Lecture: The Portrait Studio: Behind the Scenes
Presenting Portraiture Series
5 Dec 2013
National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum

26th Baba Nyonya International Convention
Her Formidable Gaze: Portraits of the Matriarch Past and Present
30 Nov 2013
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
New Straits TimesThe Star

South and Southeast Asian Art & Archaeology Research Seminar
Beyond Shoeboxes in Attics: The Life Biographies of the  Portrait Photograph
23 October 2013, SOAS, Brunei Gallery
University of London

The Postgraduate Symposium in History of Art and Visual Culture
University College London (UCL)
Cosmopolitan Representations: Peranakans and Image making in Colonial and Postcolonial Singapore (June 2012)

South and Southeast Asian Art & Archaeology Research Seminar
16 May 2012, SOAS, Brunei Gallery
Cosmopolitan Representations: Peranakans and Image making in Colonial Singapore
University of London

CSEAS (Centre for Southeast Asian Studies) Award 2013 for doctoral research

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