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Museum Macan: Yayoi Kusama

When National Gallery Singapore organised the Yayoi Kusama exhibition last year, we happened to be back in Singapore for a holiday, and brought the kids to check it out. N had a lot of fun there, so when we heard that it was coming to Jakarta, we knew we had to check it out too.

My parents are currently visiting us in Jakarta, and we thought it would be nice for them to visit the exhibition with us. Now that the twins are older, they are definitely more aware of what’s going on around them, and it’s always good to have extra help when we go out. We booked the tickets online a few days beforehand to be safe, since there are fixed entry times for the exhibition. We chose the 10am to 12noon slot, and initially, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to finish seeing everything within two hours, but we were more or less done after 1.5 hours.

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow

The queue to enter at 10am

I was eyeing the gift shop while we were queuing

Do spend some time reading the Yayoi Kusama “timeline” (sorry, I don’t know what it’s called) before or after you’re done with the exhibition. I found it quite interesting!

The twins were captivated by the “big big balls” (Dots Obsession) at the entrance of the exhibition, and wanted to touch them, but the staff there were quick to remind us not to touch anything. One of the “balls” had a peephole, where you could see more “pumpkins” inside, but when I carried N up to have a better look, he tried to hold on to the window there to steady himself, and we were again reminded not to touch anything. Erm, okay.

Great Gigantic Pumpkin

Dots Obsession

Inside the Infinity Mirrored Room

N liked this colourful flower at the entrance

The twins were attracted to the stainless steel balls in Narcissus Garden, but we whisked them away quickly before they touched them.

Narcissus Garden

Some of my favs in the Infinity Nets collection

Didi liked peeping into this “The Spirit of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens” installation

The Body and Performance exhibit is only for visitors aged 18 and above, so I went in by myself to take a look. There is some nudity in the photographs, but I personally didn’t think it warranted a minimum age requirement. It was interesting to see how she used her art to respond to the political and social environment in the United States while she was living there, and how her style transcended different forms of media.

Entrance to the Body and Performance exhibit

The Love Forever collection has a markedly different visual imagery from her Early Works and Infinity Nets collections, and I enjoyed examining the works closely, to spot all the little details she incorporated. There is also another “peep box” here, titled ‘I want to Love on the Festival Night’. There are three different peepholes of different heights, and the children loved looking at the changing lights inside.

Love Forever

Look at the amount of detail there is!

I want to Love on the Festival Night

Kusama’s most recent painting series is titled “My Eternal Soul” and includes ‘Love is the Heart of a Rainbow’. The colours used are very vibrant, and there are soft sculptures mixed with paintings here. N says his fav is “the one that looks like a Christmas tree”. Haha.

My Eternal Soul

The video clip shown in Manhattan Suicide Addict was particularly moving for me, as I thought the words she sang were extremely poignant. It felt that she was baring her soul despite her emotionless face, and the images seemed to reflect her state of mind. Of course, I’m not an Art major, so that’s just my opinion and personal response to her work in that video, okay?

Manhattan Suicide Addict

The Obliteration Room is on a different level, so you’ll need to exit the exhibition, and head up the escalator to get to it. If you want to return to the exhibition after visiting The Obliteration Room, don’t forget to get your hand stamped by the staff at the exit.

The Obliteration Room

This was probably everyone’s favourite exhibit, and we were all very busy pasting the stickers everywhere. My dad was more enthusiastic than I expected him to be, and amused himself by creating a bear with the stickers. The twins were a little uncertain at first, but soon got the hang of it, and were probably wondering why they were being encouraged to paste stickers everywhere, especially since I don’t allow them to do that at home.

My dad and his sticker bear

The kids at work

I can’t remember if there was a time limit in Singapore, but we were given only three minutes here, and Didi cried when we had to leave, because he was having so much fun. We also had to return our unused stickers, which was kind of odd, but maybe they were trying to prevent people from pasting the stickers everywhere else in the museum.

Not very happy twins, before being forcibly carried out of the exhibit

All in all, we spent an enjoyable morning at Museum Macan, and I think it’s definitely worth visiting, even if you don’t have kids. I would personally have preferred to be able to take my time to look at the exhibits in greater detail, but it was a bit difficult with three active kids. My parents seemed to have enjoyed the whole experience, and I’m glad we were able to visit it together as a family.

Family photo after a fun morning

If you’re planning to go, here are some tips:

1. Book your tickets online before going. 2. Don’t bring big bags, as you’ll have to deposit them at the bag counter before entering. I was quite nervous about not having my diaper bag with me, but thankfully, I didn’t need it during the 1.5 hours that we spent inside. 3. If you do bring a bag, make sure it’s a small bag. N was made to deposit his small backpack, and my mum had to deposit her tote bag, so I think a small purse/sling bag is your best bet. 4. No food or drinks are allowed inside. 5. No cameras are allowed either, except your phone cameras. 6. Strollers are allowed, but you’ll need to park your stroller outside most of the exhibition rooms, so it’s better if you can do without one. 7. If you’re bringing young kids, remind them not to touch anything! There are many museum guides reminding visitors not to touch the exhibits, so do keep an eye on your children.

Museum Macan AKR Tower Level MM Jalan Panjang No.5 Kebon Jeruk Jakarta Barat 11530 Indonesia Tue to Sun: 10am to 8pm; Closed on Mon Website HERE Details on Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow can be found HERE Buy tickets to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition HERE

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