Forefinger is rooted in the context of the Cambodian-Vietnamese war, from 1975 to 1978. During this period, many men avoided conscription into war by cutting off their index fingers the crucial trigger finger needed to fire a gun. A lot of these men were pressured into doing so by older family members who had experienced the horrors of war in the earlier Vietnam war, and did not want the younger generation to suffer the same. This is a story personal to Tran Tuan, as his father and three uncles had their forefingers cut off at the instigation of his grandfather, a former field medic in the Vietnam war. Today, many Vietnamese view these visible handicaps as an unwelcome reminder of the war, and the story is largely ignored.This piece is emblematic of Tran Tuan's central concern to mediate and reconcile the baggage of Vietnam's past with its present. The 4 sculptures are wholly functional as furniture, and with their luxurious coverings resemble expensive designer pieces. It positively highlights the symbolic exchange taken place; pain for peace, loss for gain, a reminder that there is much to honour in the sacrifices made for today's peace.

Artist Name
Tran Tuan
Image size: Refer to individual parts
Accession No.
Crocodile skin, ox-hide, human hair, cow and buffalo bones
Collection of
Singapore Art Museum