Shwe Wutt Hmon (Myanmar) and Sarah Isabelle Tan (Singapore)

The Objectifs Documentary Award champions Objectifs’ mission to broaden perspectives through image making, by supporting original voices in visual storytelling in Singapore and the wider region. The Award enables photographers to work on new or existing projects, encouraging them to tell stories about their native communities. It welcomes different creative approaches to non-fiction storytelling, from conventional documentary photography to visual experiments. Projects may be presented in still images or use multimedia.

The successful recipients will be given professional and financial support to work on their projects over a 6 month-long period. The final works will exhibited at Objectifs in conjunction with our documentary programme, Stories That Matter in March – April 2021.

The awardee was selected by a panel of five jury members:


Shwe Wutt Hmon will work with curator Guo-Liang Tan, on an exhibition.

Shwe Wutt Hmon (b.1986) divides her time between photography and developmental work. Shwe is a freelance documentary photographer based in Yangon, Myanmar, and is an independent researcher for UN agencies and international organizations.

Shwe’s works focus on collective identity, personal and family relationships, documenting the history of places and people, and changes in environment and urbanization. She tells personal stories from which she connects and examines larger social and societal issues, using photography as her main medium.

Shwe is one of the founding members of a Myanmar based women photographer collective, Thuma Collective, which is dedicated to visual storytelling. She was a part of Thuma Collective’s debut exhibition “Us & Beyond” in 2018 and second collective exhibition “Disclosure” in 2019. With Thuma Collective, Shwe has published two collective photo books, Us & Beyond, self-published by Thuma Collective and Bridging the Naf, funded by the Norwegian People’s Aid.

Shwe was a participant in 13th Angkor Photo’s professional workshop in 2017. Her work I Wish You Were There, was shown at the Women in Photography 2017 slideshow projection: Asian Women Photographer’s Showcase at Objectifs, Singapore. Shwe was a mentee in Invisible Photographer Asia’s Mentorship Program in 2018, and was selected for South Asia Incubator 1 at Photo Kathmandu 2018. She is currently a mentee in Women Photograph’s Mentorship Class for 2019-2020. She completed her first artist residency at Villa Sträuli in Winterthur, Switzerland, in early 2020, supported by Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, New Delhi.

Project description

Dear Virus is a work about how the artist’s sister is using art to manage her mental illness, and how Shwe is coping with living with her parents and sister during the Covid-19 pandemic through photography. In the process, Shwe and her sister began a collaboration where her sister paints and colors on the photographic prints, which document her sister’s life at home. As the artist says, “We both don’t know what we two are collaborating on. Maybe we don’t have a purpose. We are just on a journey. We are on a journey together after all.”


Sarah Isabelle Tan will undergo a six-month long mentorship with photographer Veejay Villafranca.

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.

Project description

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, the artist 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; the intimacy and distance that hinges on it and the childhood vacillation between dependence and independence. 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, an ode to a shared life and a human connection across distance and time.