Stories of mental health journeys in Singapore

A project by Yong Li Xuan (Singapore)
Recipient of the Objectifs Documentary Award 2022, Emerging Category
Mentored by Muhammad Fadli

Lower Gallery, Objectifs
31 Mar to 7 May 2023
Free admission

Opening | 30 Mar 2023, 6pm – 9pm

Artist Talk with Yong Li Xuan and Muhammad Fadli | 1 Apr 2023, 1.30pm – 2.30pm(Read a recap of the session here)

Ashley Poo is a 22-year-old student who was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2019. Nearly four years on, she continues to battle her inner demons. Yong Li Xuan has been documenting Ashley’s journey since September 2021, after they met in a mental health support group online.

According to a Singapore Mental Health Study conducted in 2016, one in seven in Singapore have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime but more than three-quarters did not seek professional help. Evidence that youths in Singapore are experiencing difficulties with their mental well-being is mounting, and there is a growing awareness that more resources are needed to tackle this issue.

Fighting Demons is an intimate portrait of Ashley’s relationships – with friends, family and herself – and how they intertwine with her mood disorders. Through this project, she lets her walls down, in the hopes that others will empathise and open up about mental health issues.

Click here for Li Xuan’s personal statement about the project.
Click here for a list of mental health resources in Singapore.

About the artist

Yong Li Xuan is a Singaporean journalist at The Straits Times, where she writes and occasionally photographs for the national broadsheet. She is passionate about serving her community and hopes to amplify the voices of people who are vulnerable or marginalised.

In 2022, she was selected for the 35th Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. She is also a coordinator for Pictures of the Year Asia, a competition celebrating the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers in the region.

About the mentor
Muhammad Fadli is a Sumatran-born Indonesian documentary and portrait photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. His personal projects explore different themes such history of colonization, subculture, environment, and social issues. He splits his time between editorial assignments, corporate and commercial works, personal projects, and as a father of a young daughter.

He is a Climate Change reporting fellow of The GroundTruth Project and the recipient of National Geographic Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalist. He served as the jury for World Press Photo 2021 and has published two books, Rebel Riders (Dienacht Publishing, Leipzig, Germany) and The Banda Journal (JordanJordan Editions, Jakarta, Indonesia). The latter, which was a collaborative effort with the writer Fatris MF, won Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year Awards 2021. These days, apart from being a photographer, he also acts as photo editor and multimedia producer.

Presented by Objectifs
Supported by Cultural Matching Fund