By Sarah Isabelle Tan (Singapore)

Mentored by Veejay Villafranca
Presented as a culmination of the Objectifs Documentary Award, Emerging Category

Lower Gallery, Objectifs
18 Mar to 25 Apr 2021 
Free admission

Opening (Extended Hours): Thu 18 Mar, 12pm to 9pm
Please stay tuned for details on the artist and mentor’s talk.

Alaga (Tagalog)
noun: pet, ward, person, animal or thing being taken care of
associated with: to raise, to nurture, to protect, custody, to care for, to look after

As the end of her nanny’s contract of service approaches, Sarah Isabelle Tan contemplates the place she has come to inhabit within their relationship throughout the years. Tracing the fleeting impermanence of lived moments between two women, Alaga explores the connection that is embedded in the spaces they have shared and occupied, deliberating the notion of family and the intimacy and distance that hinges on it.

Seen through the vision of the artist, the series of images is a recollection of tender moments that can never offer a representation of the relationship in is entirety, but a work of remembrance and memory that spans almost three decades. The work reflects upon the complexities of the roles an individual plays, the sacrifices it encompasses and how it shapes a life lived. Drawing on personal histories and family archives, journal entries and a series of images and text made by both the artist and her nanny, Alaga is a manifestation of a tangible source of collective memory, stories, and an ode to a shared life across distance and time.

About Sarah Isabelle Tan

Sarah Isabelle Tan is an artist whose work delves into the ontology of the photographic, navigating between nuances of the tangible and intangible. She is particularly interested in the materiality of the photograph and its (re)representation of things. Through personal encounters of loss, memory, fleeting moments, and a longing to possess what is always beyond reach, Sarah’s practice is driven by an open-ended inquisition and contemplation. She graduated from the London College of Communication in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours in Photography.

About Veejay Villafranca

Veejay Villafranca was born in Manila. He started out in journalism as a staff photographer for the national news magazine covering socio-political events in the Philippines. He embarked on a freelance career in 2006 and worked with several international news wire agencies and publications covering national news and feature stories before pursuing personal projects that later paved the way to his career as a full-time documentary photographer. In 2008, he was awarded the Ian Parry Scholarship and a residency at Visa Pour l’Image for his project on the lives of former gang members in Manila and in 2013 attended the prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass program of the World Press Photo Foundation. His works can be viewed at

Veejay is based in Manila and works around the Asian region contributing to different news outlets while pursuing his personal work in the Philippines. He is a regular mentor for the Angkor Photo Workshops and also a lecturer at the Asian Center for Journalism’s Diploma in Visual Journalism program and at the Diploma in Photography course at the College of Saint Benilde. He has been a resource speaker for several forums on documentary photography and visual language. 

Supported by: