A Journey to the South East

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On a recent trip to Singapore to attend a friend’s wedding I was immersed into a new world, full of cultural, bursting with colors, beautiful costumes, vibrant music and flavorful food.  Indian Punjabi culture is known for its strong ties to their cultural traditions and in carrying them on through past generations to our present time. In this occasion I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand a Punjabi Sikh wedding and all the ceremonies that take place to complete the binding agreement.

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My attire to the wedding consisted of a cream rhinestone studded chiffon sari with a golden silk border. The sari consists of many yards of fabric that are wrapped numerously around the waist and pleated to allow leg movement then placed over the shoulders. In this occasion the last yard of chiffon was place on the shoulder and over my head as the ceremony took place in the Sikh temple where modesty is valued so heads are covered and shoes are taken off prior entering.

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Below we have two young ladies dressed in the cultural Punjabi suits in vibrant eye-catching orange and lime silks. Typically a Punjabi suit consists of a “Shalwar” or a loose-fitted trouser that’s tight on the ankles and a “Kameez” or a long Tunic with the side seams open below the waist to allow movement and accompanied with a scarf.

 

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This photo is of the bride sitting in front of a plate filled with milk and rose petals where a “Choora” ceremony is taking place prior to the wedding ceremony. A Choora is a set of wedding bangles usually red and white in color that are worn by the bride on her wedding day and are given to her by her uncles and aunts.  The ceremony consists of the Chooras being dipped in the plate of milk and rose petals as a blessing before the bride puts them on.  Traditionally the bride is meant to continue wearing the bracelets for 40 days after the wedding.

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This is a photo of the groom in the Sikh temple prior entering to attend the ceremony. In Sikh Wedding traditions, the groom’s sisters would tie a “Sehra” across the groom’s turban to cover his face prior to leaving the house. This is to ward off the evil eye and to also maintain anticipation for the wedding guests to see the groom when he enters the temple.

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The grooms wedding attire consists jacket and pant suit, where the jackets are studded with precious embellishment the exude lux and magnanimity on the wedding day.

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The bride is dressed in traditional Indian Punjabi wedding attire. This typically consists of a red and gold Punjabi Suit. The top and skirt are couture-esque decorated with heavy embroidery, sequins, beading and trim details. The bride is accessorized generously with gold jewelry including a headpiece, necklace and earrings. She is also wearing the sets of “Chooras” on both arms that are also adorned with henna patterns. All eyes are definitely on the beautiful dazzling bride on her special day.

– Mona Hamid

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Yayoi Kusama – I Who Have Arrived in Heaven

www.stilettosandsubstance.comYayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist and writer that has embarked on her journey in the arts in the 1950’s . Kusama ventured the art worlds of both New York and Japan. At the age of 82, she continues to work and produce an expansive amount of visionary artwork.

Kusama exhibits her tantric interest in psychedelic colors, pattern and repetition through her most recent exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery “ I Who Have Arrived in Heaven”, one of my favorite art exhibits of 2013.This spectacular artist  is known to inspire the works of many famous artists including that of pop art legend  Andy Warhol, and thus giving birth to the genre of pop art.

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The “Infinity Room” is composed of a mirror lined kaleidoscope room with 75 colored LED bulbs flickering in different wavelengths. I spent 2  agonizing hours in a line in the pouring rain just to experience the magical room for a mere 45 seconds. However, the wait proved to be worth every second as I was allured with  the fantasy-like room, and was completely mesmerized with the art. The room appeared to provide its visitors with an out of body experience, as you  would just want to sit there in silence and let your mind get inspired. The “Infinity Room” proved to simultaneously have a very calming effect, stimulating your every sense.

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Yayoi Kusama is famous for her brightly colored polka dots, a concept she came up with during the 1960’s.

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www.stilettosandsubstance.comA lot of her work is composed of her own hallucinatory fascinations that she has experienced since childhood. This includes the spots and the tentacle forms and the phalluses in her work.  Yayoi Kusama admitted herself into a permanent psychiatric facility since 1973 and owns a studio close by the facility where she goes to create her art but self willingly wants to remain at the institution. It is amazing what the unsettled hallucinated mind can come up with and it is very fascinating to see the outcome of the extension of a mental disorder into the inspiring and stimulating bodies of artwork.

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www.stilettosandsubstance.comIn honor of Yayoi Kasuma’s love for psychedelic colors and color combination I am wearing a colorful floral sweater from Ted Baker’s Spring 2014 collection and pleated leather skirt from Urban Outfitters. I am intrigued by how the display of the florals on the sleeves of the sweater give it an illusion of a tattooed arm sleeve.

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Yayoi Kasuma has had many fashion collaborations, one of the most famous being her collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton in 2011. I first got introduced to Yayoi Kusama when watching the Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary in 2007. Marc Jacobs pays a visit to Kusama in her studio in Japan with a line of leather goods, pret-a-porter, shoes and accessories.  The ad campaign for the collaboration can be viewed below.

Photography by Jeffrey Thompson

Writing by Mona Hamid