Featuring Youth in Loop by Alecia Neo and National Service by Kerry Cheah

22 Feb – 3 Mar 2024
Lower Gallery 1 and 2, Objectifs
Free admission

Related events
Opening and book launches | Thu 22 Feb, 6.30pm – 9pm
Guest of Honor: Oniatta Effendi, cultural entrepreneur and founder of Baju by Oniatta

Artist Talk with Alecia Neo and Kerry Cheah | Thu 22 Feb, 7.30pm (Please RSVP here)

Youth in Loop by Alecia Neo

What does “recovery” mean in the context of youth mental health? What conditions and environments are necessary for a young person’s well-being? What loops and barriers prevent us from embracing and receiving care from others?

These were some questions Alecia began with at the start of her photography residency with Exactly Foundation. She examines well-being as a state of mental health and chose to focus on the experience of depression due to its prevalence, both in Singapore and globally, and its intersection with numerous mental health and social-political conditions. Depression can be understood as a state of behavioural shutdown, which often results in challenging and deeply-disabling cycles of avoidance and isolation. Through centring the perspectives of young people on mental health, this project seeks to disrupt the norm of adults setting the rules for engagement: Alecia invited young people to reflect upon the loops they navigate by sharing their own framework of care. Beyond the individual, she also examines larger cultural and societal structures that limit and guide our responses towards mental illness in Singapore.

National Service by Kerry Cheah

Won’t somebody please think of the children?

As Singapore’s resident TFR (total fertility rate) continues its gradual decline, it is no wonder that the government has babies on its mind. Pro-family policies are tweaked every few years, ostensibly to support young families who decide to have more children. The messaging that accompanies these policies is clear – families are the key building block of society, therefore a strong Singapore requires strong families. The state is the benevolent nanny, offering assistance and clearing obstacles where required.

From the moment Kerry started thinking about this project, she knew that she wanted to prioritize representation, sorely lacking in our media landscape today. Real families of different forms, just trying to get through the day without any romanticizing of family life.

Fertility is not just a female issue that ends with childbirth and as self-apparent as it seems, the decision to have a child has life-long consequences for all parties involved. By documenting different families and their routines at similar times of the day, Kerry brings to life these “consequences” as a way of instigating reflection.

Both exhibition catalogues are available for free download via the Exactly Foundation website, please scan the QR codes below to download the catalogues. Hard copies of the catalogues are available for purchase from Li Li via zachli@yahoo.com, with Alecia Neo’s catalogue priced at $65 and Kerry Cheah’s catalogue priced at $45.

Alecia Neo’s catalogue

Kerry Cheah’s catalogue

About Alecia Neo

Alecia Neo is an artist and cultural worker. Her collaborative practice unfolds primarily through installations, lens-based media and participatory workshops that examine modes of radical hospitality and care. She is currently working on Care Index, an ongoing research focused on the indexing and transmission of embodied gestures and movements, which emerge from lived experiences of care labour. Care Index has been recently presented at The Esplanade: Theatres by the Bay, The Listening Biennial, Assembly for Permacircular Museums (ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe), New Season of Care (Asia-Art-Activism) and Presence of Mind (Gallery Lane Cove, NSW, Australia). She is the co-founder of art collective Brack and Ubah Rumah Residency on Nikoi Island, Bintan. Active since 2014, her ongoing collaborations with disabled artists currently manifests as an arts platform, Unseen Art Initiatives.

About Kerry Cheah

Kerry Cheah is a Singapore-based photographer of people’s relationships – with each other and with their environments. Her professional focus is on helping families see and embrace the beauty in their ordinary lives, by creating honest, heartfelt and intimate images of them just as they are. She is the wife of an exceedingly patient man and mother of two irrepressibly energetic boys, and struggles every day to be grateful and kind. Her goal is to bring the same ethos of finding beauty in authentic lives to her social documentary projects, working at the intersection of light and shadow to both illuminate and provoke questions.