Stay Home, Stay Safe
Welcome to #ObjectifsSupports, our weekly feature where we highlight filmmakers and photographers, and the ways in which you can engage with and support their works during the COVID-19 period and beyond!
Click here to watch Lan Yu’s award-winning first short film $ingapura, which depicts a day in the life of a Singaporean taxi driver and offers glimpses into the stories of his passengers. Read on her for thoughts about the film here.
Lan Yu is a Singaporean filmmaker who enjoys listening to stories and (re-)telling them. Her social science background has trained her to use stories as bridges to connect people, society and environments. When she isn’t writing for Weave, she’s engrossed in a brainstorm, delving deep into research, or bugging someone about a new project she’s interested in. Her personal works are driven by her interest in social issues. She believes creative stories are best served with empathy; she strives to bring out the human in every tale she tells.
$ingapura is Lan Yu’s first short film, which depicts a day in the life of a Singaporean taxi driver and offers glimpses into the stories of his passengers. It won Best Film and Best Screenplay in the Open Category of the ciNE65 Movie Makers Award (2019), a biannual short film competition by Nexus for which Objectifs was the film consultant and manager.
Click here to view Zul’s series Malay Boy (after Cheong Soo Pieng), 2020 and to read what Zul has to say about the work. This series is currently showing as part of the group exhibition How to Desire Differently, co-curated by Zul and Farizi Noorfauzi, who also exhibited in MAT. View the show online here and offline until 7 Aug at the Lim Hak Tai Gallery at NAFA.
Zulkhairi Zulkiflee’s practice revolves around Malayness, with specific interests in creative knowledge making and tensions of habituses concerning taste and class positions. He also runs Sikap, a project group interested in organisational experiments in the visual arts. Zul had curated and exhibited in the group show MAT, recipient of the inaugural Curator Open Call at Objectifs in 2019. Click here for more information about the exhibition, including its catalogue, a video featuring the artists, and media coverage.
Zul’s recent series Malay Boy (after Cheong Soo Pieng), 2020 takes the painting Malay Boy with Bird (1953) as a point of departure, specifically responding to possible tropes of the Malay male body as mediated by imaging sources like paintings, and its expansion today.
See Kian Wee (b. 1989)’s current practice explores the relationship between society, its myth-making mechanisms, and the narratives brought about by it. He works primarily with photography and looks into its efficacy as a myth-making tool, and often incorporates other visual and sensory media as well. His work has been presented at the Jendela at Esplande — Theatres on the Bay, and The Substation.
Finding Cụ Rùa is a short film about the legendary turtle of Hoan Kiem Lake, and its significance to the people of Hanoi.
Click here to view some videos from Farizi’s series, Internalised Conversations, which is being shown as part of the group exhibition How to Desire Differently, co-curated by Farizi and Zul Zulkiflee. View the show online here and offline at Lim Hak Tai Gallery, NAFA. It runs till 7 Aug.
Farizi Noorfauzi is a multidisciplinary artist whose work was part of the group show MAT, recipient of the inaugural Curator Open Call, at Objectifs in 2019. Farizi works at the intersection of media and performance, exploring trends in culture specifically within the socio-cultural context of Singapore as an intersection of diasporic cultures. He approaches personal histories as an entry point to imagining past, present and future tropes of cultural identity, via re-contextualising current assumptions and understandings of the self and each other.
Farizi’s work Internalised conversations is an an attempt at approaching sampling — both sonically and visually — as a tool for reconstructing new narratives out of disembodied film sequences from old classic Malay film. The video installation adapts dialogues and scenes from films that professedly focus on the “Malay social imaginary”, exercising pre-existing tropes of Malayness to the forefront.
Norah Lea is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose work was part of the group show MAT, recipient of the inaugural Curator Open Call at Objectifs last year. Norah’s practice spans a variety of mediums including photography, film, video, performance, text and spoken word poetry. Rooted in self-portraiture, Norah engages with ideas of belonging and identity through frameworks such as gender performance, ethnographic portraits and the interweaving of transnational histories.
Norah’s new text-based work Wedding 2020 is about her experience of getting “married”. It is a love letter to her own queer experience, the narratives surrounding people like herself and playfully making sense of the aspirational fantasies we are told to have.
This work is a collaborative continuation of Session #8: Norah Lea in Conversation with Wong Bing Hao, held at Peninsular in Nov 2019.
Click here to view some images from Ashfika’s series, Files of the Disappeared, and here to read a recap of the artist talk with Ashfika during Objectifs’ Women in Photography exhibition in 2019. Ashifka’s works are available for sale, and she can be contacted by email for enquiries. She will direct the proceeds towards mutual aid funds for vulnerable communities in Bangladesh.
Ashfika Rahman is a Bangladeshi photographer who explores systemic social issues through her photography. Her series Files of the Disappeared was presented at Objectifs’ Women in Photography Exhibition in 2019. Thousands of people have been picked up by the police in Bangladesh in recent years. Many were tortured in custody, and those released were not allowed to speak out. Following conversations with victims of such violence, Ashfika made portraits of them and landscape photographs of the locations where bodies have been found.
She shares, “My protagonists prefer to be photographed in their own space where they feel safe with their dearest ones. In custody, psychological and physical methods of torture are used. Though psychological torture results in more trauma, and leaves longer-term scars in the person, it cannot be visualised. I try to take my protagonists through a meditative journey, that may allow them to investigate their own anxiety which they kept secret for so long. Illustrating personal emotion in one’s own portrait is a process of healing. Stitching the photographs with golden thread is a symbolic representation of silence in custody.”
As we witness the curtailment of freedom of expressions globally, this series urges us to consider the civil and human rights we cede to those in authority. Ashfika reflects that the pandemic has made her more aware about how interconnected we are, and how collectively, we can make a difference, be it socially, economically or ecologically.
Amrita Chandradas is a Singaporean documentary photographer whose works explore issues revolving around heritage, memory, conflict, identity, changing environments and other lesser discussed issues of displacement through on-ground personal insights.
Click here to view some of the images, drawings, and the video from the series Postcards from Singapore.
Lac Hoang (aka Phuong-Thao Hoang), a visual artist and editorial photographer from Hanoi, Vietnam, who works with photography, video and drawings on the formation of identity in public space and was the recipient of Objectifs’ reciprocal artist residency with Matca last year.
Lac spent Mar 2019 in Singapore for her residency and worked on Postcards from Singapore, a project about foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore and their relationship with public spaces. Lac shares: “With a camera in one hand and an eraser in the other, I investigate the boundary between the public and the private and how that both forms and fractures one’s identity. Appropriating digital media — found footage, photographs and stories — I archive humans’ responses to space, especially where the boundary blurs between publicity and privacy, labour and leisure, authorisation and reclamation of power.”
Click here to view some images from the series How They Love. You may contact Charmaine directly via email to purchase her prints. How She Loves, a book documenting Charmaine’s residency with the Exactly Foundation, is available on the Objectifs online store.
Charmaine Poh is a Singaporean photographer, artist and writer who has been a mentor for Objectifs’ Shooting Home Youth Awards photography mentorship programme and whose project Room was part of the Women in Photography 2018 Slideshow Projection presented by Objectifs and Women Photograph.
Charmaine’s practice often employs ethnography, focusing on issues of performativity, memory, and gender. Her genre-spanning work combines image-making with research, text, video and installation. When not working on long-term projects, she works with brands, non-profits, and editorial outlets to produce imagery. Her work has been exhibited internationally and featured in publications including i-D, Channel News Asia and The New York Times. In 2019, she was recognised as one of Forbes Asia 30 under 30 – The Arts.
Charmaine’s project How They Love examines the performativity of queer feminine identity in the local context. Through a process of collaborative image-making, the series examines the ways in which romantic partners express desire as well as the manifestations of their individual identity formation project in the contemporary queer experience. Made over a period of two years, the series is both an attempt to validate and render visible these identities, as well as an inquiry into appearance and engagement, as it is performed in front of the camera.
How They Love was first initiated through an Exactly Foundation residency in 2018 (which culminated in an exhibition at Objectifs in 2019) before turning into Charmaine’s thesis project as part of the M.A. in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin. It has been showcased internationally both offline and online. Charmaine is currently working to make her projects into artist books.
Click here to view some images from the series Myth, which are available for sale as prints. Please contact Hui Hsien directly via email if you are interested in purchasing a print. Part of the proceeds from the print sales will be donated to Dorcas Home Care.
Ng Hui Hsien is an artist, writer and researcher. Her art practice uses photography as a medium to explore themes such as consciousness, the nature of reality, (im)materiality and interconnectivity; they are sites where the unconscious can find expression, indirectly or otherwise. Her work has been internationally exhibited and is in both public and private collections. Hui Hsien has been a mentor for Objectifs’ Shooting Home Youth Awards photography mentorship programme and presented her solo exhibition The Weight of Air at Objectifs in 2016.
Hui Hsien’s new photographic work Myth explores the idea of interconnectivity. Comprising unique photographic prints created in the darkroom using organic matter such as earth, flowers and rocks, the work references cosmological events and geological phenomena.
Hui Hsien says of her series Myth – “It is an invitation to wonder about how we are all connected — with one another and with the environment.”
Clang shares with Objectifs his series, The Moment (2011), and his thoughts on photographers/visual artists making work during this trying period. Click here to read more.
For emerging photographers and visual artists, Clang is offering the opportunity to contact him if you have any questions about your work or would like to seek professional/artistic advice during this period. You may contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Clang is a Singaporean visual artist whose practice often straddles dual realities of global cities, unfettered by confines of time and geography. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions, and his works have entered the permanent collections of Singapore Art Museum and National Museum of Singapore. In 2010, he became the first photographer to garner the Designer of the Year award at the President’s Design Award. In 2013, a showcase of over 90 works by Clang was exhibited at the National Museum of Singapore. Clang has previously conducted portfolio reviews at Objectifs, and is one of our featured photographers in the Image Makers: Singapore Photographers short documentaries series.
Clang shares “These portraits were created with 3 cameras triggered all at the same precise moment, to emphasise the idea of being together… with these images, I hope we can appreciate the people around us, especially during this tough time.”
Click here to view some images from the series (Un)bound, and click here for a recap of the artist talk with Grace Baey and her collaborators, held at Objectifs in 2018. Grace is looking to work with more individuals from the transgender and queer community in Singapore. Please reach out to her if you or anyone you know would like to be involved.
Grace Baey is a Singapore-based documentary photographer. Trained as a human geographer, Grace is interested in issues of place, identity, and belonging. Her personal work focuses on transgender and queer identity in Singapore and Southeast Asia. She has been a mentor for Objectifs’ Shooting Home Youth Awards and was a recipient of the inaugural Objectifs Documentary Award (Emerging Category) in 2018, where she presented her series (Un)bound.
(Un)bound is a collaborative project about the lives of trans men and women in Singapore. Through portraits, journal entries and scrapbooking, these stories reflect on experiences of struggle, resilience, and coping strategies amidst the challenges of gender norms in society.
Grace worked closely with individuals to tease out specific story points in their life journeys, as well as issues pertaining transgender identity that they felt were valuable to highlight. A converging theme was family, and the different pressure points of what we understand and expect of familial ties and family formation.
Kris Ong is a Singaporean writer / director of several short films and music videos that have screened at international film festivals and platforms like MTV Asia. Kris is the co-founder of Momo Film Co. Her latest short film Sunday had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019 and was in competition at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival. Kris was the recipient of Objectifs’ reciprocal residency with the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival last year and was one of five artists commissioned to create a short film for the 2019 Objectifs Women in Film & Photography Showcase.
You Idiot (2018) by Kris Ong follows Darren and Matt who roam the streets one night, writing a song about what’s to come in their happy-go-lucky world.You Idiot is a love letter to late night conversations, and a gentle friendship between two young men — and all the more poignant in our current circumstances in its celebration of the freedom of being outdoors together, in good company.
Ramasamy Madhavan from Tamil Nadu, India, works in Singapore as a site engineer. $alary Day, which he directed and acted in, depicts the life of a migrant worker in Singapore.
This film, the first produced out of a collaboration between migrant workers and Singaporeans, addresses themes of migration, labour, wages and family, and is an important addition to the range of narratives depicting migrant workers’ experiences in Singapore, as it is told by a member of their community.
Madhavan says of his film: “I wanted to visualise the life of migrant workers, especially for their families and for local people, as migrant workers work in Singapore in huge numbers. Migrant workers face this kind of situation mainly because of a piece of paper (money). Everyone is running for it, including myself.”
Click here for Brian’s series on the evolving responses of the community to the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore.
Brian Teo is a photographer who has exhibited locally and been featured in major publications like Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报. In 2016, Brian participated in Objectifs’ Shooting Home Youth Awards, an annual mentorship programme for young photographers aged 15 to 23. Since then, he has gone on to clinch the CDL Singapore Young Photographer Award in 2018 and was a finalist in LensCulture’s Black & White Photography Awards in 2019.
Brian has been documenting the ever-evolving behaviours of people going about their daily lives since the outbreak of the COVID-19 situation in Singapore. It has been a volatile few months ever since the first case of the coronavirus was reported in Singapore on 24 January. As we reach yet another milestone, with the recent extension of the circuit breaker, only time will tell how this epidemic will pan out.
Brian reflects: “Documenting the ever-evolving responses of the community to the pandemic not only allows me to process the situation, but also serves as a way for me to sharpen my creative edge during the circuit breaker period. This is a good time to slow down, reflect, and perhaps even put things in a different perspective.”
Kong Chong Yew is a photographer who has been a mentor for Objectifs’ Shooting Home Youth Awards. Since 9 Feb, Chong Yew has been working on Stay Home For Us, a series documenting Singapore’s medical workers involved in the frontline and backend operations of the fight against COVID-19. This series is commissioned by National University Health System – NUHS, a cluster of healthcare institutions in the west.
Says Chong Yew: “Being close to the action really lends perspective to how everyone in the hospital has an essential role in containing the virus. They work in shifts round the clock to care for their patients, while keeping in mind of all the infectious diseases protocols. It’s a tireless assignment. When SARS and H1N1 hit our shores, I was still a student. As a photographer now, I hope to share the brave work of our frontliners through my pictures. This is my contribution towards the battle against the virus. For the rest of us, we can help by simply staying at home.”
Purchase Li Lin’s DVD, A Wee Thing, from our online store. Enjoy the film’s trailer and a peek behind the scenes.
Wee Li Lin has won awards including Best Director at Singapore International Film Festival – SGIFF and is a part-time screenwriting lecturer at NTU School of Art, Design and Media (ADM). Objectifs has distributed Li Lin’s short films, screened her works in our Watch Local programme, and worked with her on our filmmaking and scriptwriting workshops.
Her film, The Perm, commissioned for ciNE65 IV, is a heartwarming story of intergenerational relationships and the warmth of community spaces like Singapore’s old hair salons. In this current climate which calls for safe distancing measures, The Perm reminds us of family members and friends, and the neighbourhood spots we look forward to gathering in again when we can.
In Young Love, Sean photographed students who were either best friends or lovers in pairs. If you are or know anyone ideally between the ages of 17 to 23 who fits this description, contact him via email. He is looking to photograph more pairs, with the end goal of self-publishing a book.
Of his series Young Love, Sean says, “When I was 17-years old and a student, the girl sitting beside me in class passed away after a short struggle with an illness… She had stopped school for a while, but because no one knew the seriousness of her condition, we all thought it was a matter of time before she came back. When she passed away, we did not have the chance to say goodbye… I often tell my students that photography teaches us above all things, that our time here is brief. Perhaps this work is a way for me to say a proper goodbye to my youth, and to my friend.”
All of the work on his website is also available for sale as prints on Awagami Bamboo paper, longest side 20cm. They will be unframed and without editions, at S$280 each.
Watch Wei Keong’s 2017 award winning short film Between Us Two, which features a conversation between a gay son and his dead mother.
Objectifs has worked closely with Wei Keong over the years, distributing his short films Hush Baby and White. Visit our online store to purchase tote bags handprinted by Wei Keong, featuring Kingdom, and rent Wei Keong’s short films on the Objectifs Film Library.
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The work at Objectifs continues behind the scenes during the COVID-19 period. As a non-profit arts organisation, we count on donations to enable us to support the arts community, and to keep creating programmes that broaden perspectives and inspire people through the power of images.
We are an Institution of Public Character (IPC) status. As such, your donations will qualify for a 250% tax deduction for the year 2020. Your contribution will also be eligible for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Cultural Matching Fund, that provides a dollar-for-dollar match for cash donations to arts and heritage charities. Thank you for supporting our work!