Yayoi Kusama’s show a blast of polka dots and lights

Seeing these two acts of creation inevitably intertwine – something Yayoi herself has encouraged in past interviews – is a fascinating lens through which to experience her art.


Yayoi, 88, has spent most of the 70 years of her career wresting control of the external, specifically male gaze, and using the act of being seen to generate her own narratives. Mobile devices and social media offer similar freedoms, allowing users to take control of image-making and in the process, the stories they want to tell about themselves.


But viewed within the context of the Kusama’s body of work, such photographs start seeming less like superficial snapshots and more like an extension of her art.


Search Instagram for “Yayoi Kusama” and you will get thousands of photos – everything from selfies to OOTD shots – featuring the art legend’s creations. Little surprise, really. Kusama’s polka dots, pumpkins and kaleidoscopic lights are tailor-made for a generation seemingly obsessed with both image-making and themselves.


Yayoi’s installation titled With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever, which is a constant favourite among visitors to the National Gallery Singapore. Photos: AFP