Nyonya’s Kebaya, Baba’s Desire
Video performance
Penang, Malaysia, 2007
29min 50 sec

Exhibited at NUS Museum, Singapore in ‘Objects & Desire’, Jan-April 2007

Nyonya’s Kebaya, Baba’s Desire (excerpt), video performance

… “Fashion is a social phenomenon that can be considered both in relation to the history of the decorative arts and design, and to the history of modernity.  Australian Victoria Cattoni’s investigation on the ‘Kebaya’ a fashionable blouse worn by Peranakan women, examines fashion as object and as subject of the modern construction of cultural and individual identity and change.  Cattoni’s work is community based, developed through a series of interactive video workshops.   The maternal figure in silk chiffon is redefined.  The installation, performance and video artist now lives and works in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Her initial cross cultural project was undertaken in Australia and Indonesia, using the kebaya to explore constructions of cultural identity through a series of interactive video performances.  Using the language of clothing to stimulate dialogue, Cattoni challenges common cultural misconceptions.  She has since continued her work in Kuala Lumpur using video performance workshops to explore how women in Malaysia express their identities through particular choices of dress.  In Nyonya’s kebaya, Baba’s desire, Cattoni will further develop an interactive video workshop with a small group of Peranakan women in Penang…”

Lim, Karen 2007, “Objects – A Conceptual Approach” in Objects & Desire, (exh.cat.), NUS Museum, Singapore