What constitutes a nation’s culture, history and heritage? In documenting its people, communities and their way of life, what is worth collecting and remembering? Of history – whose records do we read and which versions do we live by? Whose voices count in a land of stories?
Photovoice SG launches its inaugural annual exhibition, INTER-VIEWS on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 7 PM at The Platform, Level 2, National Museum of Singapore. The exhibition features photographic work from youth on the autism spectrum, the children of ex-inmates, young adults who have experienced psychosis, and persons living with HIV. These are personal perspectives that bring to light the hopes and concerns of persons who need to be more clearly seen and heard.
This exhibition presents little stories that seek to widen our cultural space, while unravelling essential threads of our collective imagination, memory and being.
Also there is a talk-back session with the public, titled “The Heart of Participatory Photography” held on April 14, 3.00 to 4.30pm at the Platform on Level 2. This session will explore the photovoice process as a means for personal and cultural documentation. It will feature the perspectives of participating artists, mentor photographers and project partners. A silent auction of the prints will go towards funding future Photovoice SG projects.
There is also a photo book on sales, a compilation of Photovoice SG’s passed one year of projects. At only SGD$25
Looking around the exhibition area, it made me feel like I had drop by a friend’s house in the 80s. Vintage furniture and items frame the space, to lead the audience to the individual stories hidden.
I asked Mr Tan Ngiap Heng, Photovoice SG Project Designer: “I noticed that the photos are printed in various formats and the printed descriptions along them are printed rather small. Also can you enlighten me on how the exhibition layout was planned?”
Mr Tan “The narrative is not linear, since there are multiple stories being told and none are the small – hence different format to bring each story alive and unique. We encourage the visitors to get up-close with the images & description. Also realistically speaking, space is a luxury we don’t have. But treat this like visiting a friend, and understanding their life.”
I thanked Mr Tan and asked him to introduce me to one of Photovoice SG’s four founder – Ms Jennifer Koh, Spokesperson for Photovoice SG.
I asked “what lays ahead for PhotoVoice SG?
Jennifer “As for what lies ahead, we really are open to pursuing new connections and projects with groups that want to express themselves visually, groups that warrant more attention, that still face social stigma because of limited public understanding and empathy. We are keen to pursue thematic projects that involve different communities, in particular, dialogic projects that juxtapose the point-of-view of groups negotiating different perspectives or which sometimes experience conflict, e.g. across cultures, generations, students and teachers.”
“How does Art helps Society? What more can be done?”
Jennifer “I think art “can be both a breaking of silence and an invitation into silence. Some things are hard to talk about, and some of our participants have bravely put themselves out to explore emotionally complex, more difficult issues. Perhaps it is that art creates a safe space for some of us to explore and make sense of the conflicts we face in our lives. But also an invitation into silence because one of the functions of art is to “create silences around things”, that is to help us pay attention to the things that matter, to allow us to meditate on what we may have forgotten, ignored or taken for granted.”
For insight into how Photovoice SG as a group look back about over the passed one year, refer to the exhibition opening speech at this Facebook page.
The ethos of Photovoice SG is that visual storytelling through the medium of photography – tells individual story and created from the point of view of the personal subject. It offers an intimate look into the lives of people who may not have much visibility in society. Photovoice is about giving a voice to people who need to be seen; heard and understood for whom they are, freed from the preconceptions and misunderstandings of wider society.
About Photovoice SG:
Photovoice SG is a non-proﬁt community arts organisation that harnesses the power of participatory photography to tell of hidden stories in Singapore. They design customised participatory photography experiences for local communities to help people ﬁnd and voice their stories or concerns. Photovoice SG projects are driven by passionate teams of volunteer mentor photographers and administrators – who believe that change can happen if people listen.
Their community partners include: Students Care Services, ISCOS, Institute of Mental Health and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Photovoice SG is a recipient of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s New Initiative Grant in 2012.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/PhotovoiceSG or http://photovoice.sg.
“Inter-views” will be held at the National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
From 10 April to 29 April.
Opens daily from 10am to 6pm.
Admission is free.
For general enquiries, contact [email protected].
Here are more photos taken at the opening