artistic work and personal statement by Robin Decary-Kostiw
edited by Tiffany Dai
The Japanese term “Yokai” encompasses a range of spiritual beings, from demons to benevolent ghosts and other supernatural creatures. This collection of illustrations, however, focuses on a specific category: Tsukumogami. Tsukumogami are the spirits of objects which have come to be unused or unwanted, and who in turn come back to possess the items, taking forms which range from demonic to cute. In the case of this collection, I considered my own personal items which have fallen out of use, and how they might appear if they were possessed, chastising me for my lack of respect for them. Each Yokai thus says something which reflects my relationship to its item. Because I’ve studied Mandarin Chinese for the past three years, I decided to write their dialogue in Chinese in order to centre them closely around my field of interests, namely Chinese martial arts and the Chinese language.
Robin Decary-Kostiw is a third year East Asian Studies major with a minor in East Asian Language and Literature. He is interested in Chinese language and culture, and hopes to enter the field of translation after his BA at McGill. He has been drawing since the age of six and most recently working exclusively with ink and watercolour.
Orientations is a student-run and peer-reviewed journal offering transcultural perspectives on a wide variety of topics related to East Asia, such as language, literature, history, culture, art & cinema, religion and activism.
Land Acknowledgement: Orientations recognizes that McGill University is situated on the unceded territory of the Kanien'keha:ka, and is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Orientations stands in solidarity with indigenous students here at the university.
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