Thursday, 17 May 2012

Picture of the Day: Mao in Macau

Giant Mao suit by Sui Jianguo at City of Dreams
I was in Macau this evening and just before the function I went to, I took a quick stroll around City of Dreams. Just outside the complex was a massive red Mao suit and had to take a look.

It's by Sui Jianguo and I've seen his work before in 798 District in Beijing.

Now in his 60s, Sui witnessed the Great Helmsman's policies at work, particularly the Cultural Revolution. When he was young, he was "transfixed in the age of Mao worship, when Mao was virtually a God at home".

So it's not surprising Sui has taken the Mao jacket and used it as a focal point in his work, giving it many meanings. He started the "Mao Suit" series in 1997 and saw the jacket not as revolutionary attire, but as a symbol of restriction and limitation.

The iconic piece of clothing is hollow, and for Sui these are "symbols of Mao's empty promises".

So it's ironic to see Sui's work placed in front of City of Dreams in Macau where millions of mainlanders flocked to spend $33.5 billion last year, equal to five times the casino takings in Las Vegas.

Sui would probably think it was amusing to have his sculpture in a casino, whereas Mao must be mortified at seeing his infamous jacket take on such extreme capitalist meanings...

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