Exactly Foundation – Mute by Chia Aik Beng


Can a photograph show what is absent, what has been erased?

In Mute, photographer Chia Aik Beng lets us “see”, through his camera, a part of Singapore’s history that has been all but forgotten: Little Japan, a once-flourishing enclave in Singapore, complete with a red-light district — right where Bugis Junction stands today. The enigmatic images evoke a world beyond our knowledge, leaving us to wonder, Why didn’t we know this before?

Alongside the photographs, this volume documents the responses of over 80 viewers from all walks of life, including many current Japanese residents of Singapore. Their thoughts on the mutability of history make this a uniquely moving as well as thought-provoking work.

Kenneth Tay, a Singapore-based writer and independent curator, contributes a keynote essay to this volume. Formerly an assistant curator at NUS Museum, he has published many monograph essays on artists and was co-editor of Left to Right (L-R) 2016.

About Chia Aik Beng

Chia Aik Beng, also known as ABC, has been a prolific photographer since 2008. He is the author of Tonight the Streets are Ours, a monograph on Singapore’s Little India district after dusk, and the Singkarpor projects (2011 – ongoing), which comprises thousands of photographs on Singaporeans’ daily lives, including a special feature on the unprecedented outpouring of public mourning over Lee Kuan Yew’s death. Aik Beng’s vivid, gritty images of people on Singapore streets have garnered him a huge following. In 2015, he helmed the UK Guardian newspaper’s Travel Instagram account for a three-day special feature on Singapore.

About Exactly Foundation

Exactly Foundation is a not-for-profit, trademarked registered label established by Li Li Chung to commission photographers to create works that stimulate discussion of social concerns in Singapore. Its goal is to produce new knowledge by having viewers engage with the photographs and share them with friends and family over a 2-3 month period.

2 in stock


BY Chia Aik Beng and the Exactly Foundation
YEAR 2017
DETAILS Paperback, sale-stitched, 2 sections bound by belly band, 76pp
21cm x 29.7cm

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