Red Opera Study
About the Piece
Based on a photograph taken of a traveling Chinese Opera troop during the Hungry Ghost Festival
Painted in Year 2018
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in certain East Asian countries.
The whole seventh month of the lunar calendar is actually called “Ghost Month” when it’s believed that the gates of the afterlife open to allow spirits to roam the Earth to visit the living
Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items that I especially found fascinating! These effigies included Rolex watches, Mercedes cars and even LV handbags.
Concert-like performances are a prominent feature of the Ghost Festival in Singapore and Malaysia. Those live concerts are popularly known as Koh-tai in Hokkien. They are performed by groups of singers, dancers, entertainers and opera troops or puppet shows on a temporary stage that is set up within a residential district. During these concerts, the front row is left empty for the special guests—the ghosts.