The Singapore International Photography Festival returns with its fifth edition to celebrate the art of photography, embracing the theme, The Archive.
The characteristics which defined the festival from its first edition are firmly rooted, and continue to be evident in this showing: championing creativity and ideas, cultivating the appreciation of contemporary photography, inspiring new photographers to hone their art and advocating that photography can be enjoyed by all.
The SIPF serves as a platform that brings together passionate, like-minded individuals from around the world. It is a showcase for exceptional works and advocates intercultural dialogues, programmes and workshops for the exchange of diverse and creative concepts in the art of photography.
Since its inception, the SIPF has garnered success but continues to push forward. While persevering to provide a pivotal stepping stone for lesser known photographers and help spur them on to the international arena, the SIPF also does not lose sight of its other objective – to stimulate public interest in photography.
Thus, a festival showcase across six MRT* stations, underscoring their desire in making this year’s festival destination-friendly, accessible and all-encompassing, beyond walls and into public spaces.
The MRT photography festival trail is an ‘open concept’ that allows everyone to easily hop on and off the MRT to experience the art of photography. Passers-by, commuters, visitors and enthusiasts will be able to appreciate the art form and ponder on the stories that each photograph communicates; perhaps sparking an interest in photography in a young one, evoking memories for someone else or for another, simply delighting in captivating images.
Straying a little off the MRT trail are more showcases at Alliance Française de Singapour, DECK, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts, National Library Building, The Arts House Singapore and Gillman Barracks.
Still images convey unspoken words and evoke a myriad of emotions through the eyes of the photographer. They could be physical documents, images that are saved in one’s computer or mobile phone, or may simply remain in the recesses of one’s mind. All of which epitomise forms of The Archive.
In developing the theme for 2016, the approach delved into examining the nature of photographs as documentation of events, occasions, people and personal memories. The scrutiny considered how social consciousness affects one’s perception and changing perception of the function of a still image captured in this age of convenience.
“The Archive explores the nature, and roles of photography in society. The acute shift in the boundary of photography, alongside with technology advancement, and the surging social platform produced new frontiers and discovery, and as well as indistinctive status of photography in both institution and personal lives”, said Gwen Lee, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of SIPF and DECK.
The Festival Exhibitions & Programmes
Running until 13 November 2016, more than 1,200 photographic works by 58 artists from 19 countries will be displayed in six exhibitions. The festival also features educational programmes for the public, industry professionals and students.
The festival boasts several firsts – works by three renowned photographers exhibiting for the first time in Southeast Asia and a showcase at six MRT stations along the Downtown Line.
A room with a view
The festival kicks off with the winning proposal for the inaugural Curatorial Project Showcase. Titled A room with a view, the exhibition is curated by Carol Chow Pui Ha, lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communications, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This project, with works by six women artists, was selected by the jury of SIPF from amongst 15 entries from six countries and is being shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts.
The jury consists of Gwen Lee (Artistic Director and Co-Founder of SIPF and DECK), Melanie Pocock (Writer and Assistant Curator, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts) and Singaporean artist, Robert Zhao Renhui.
Southeast Asian Debut
Exhibiting their works for the first time in Southeast Asia in separate exhibitions, are critically acclaimed photographers: Daido Moriyama, the prolific “father of street photography”, Li Zhensheng, a photojournalist renowned for his photographic records of the Cultural Revolution, and Roger Ballen, whose award-winning works tread the line between fantasy and reality in ‘documentary fiction’.
The compelling, thought-provoking works will be shown at The Arts House Singapore for Li Zhensheng, DECK for Daido Moriyama and Gillman Barracks for Roger Ballen. Daido Moriyama’s Southeast Asia debut exhibition will include never-before-seen works from the series, Hunter, taken in 1972.
Open Call Showcase
The staple of the SIPF is the Open Call Showcase, a springboard from which lesser known photographers are given the opportunity to present their works. Some 584 entries were received from 48 countries, and a final shortlist of 40 artists from 18 countries will exhibit 394 works.
The jury for the Open Call Showcase consists of Kazuko Sekiji (Curator, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography), Seok Jae-Hyun (Independent Curator and Editor, Photo Dot Magazine) and Ingo Taubhorn (Curator, House of Photography, Deichtorhallen Hamburg).
The Open Call Showcase takes place, for the first time, in six MRT* stations where 26 artists and 240 works will be featured; at Alliance Française de Singapour with 10 artists and 140 works; and at the National Library Building with 4 artists and 50 works.
In partnership with the Land Transport Authority and Moove Media, the Open Call Showcase is being displayed at MRT stations along the Downtown Line, running across the arts, heritage and design district from Bugis, Rochor, Little India to Newton, Botanic Gardens and Beauty World, enabling convenient access to engage even more Singaporeans and visitors, reiterating SIPF’s sentiment that photography can be enjoyed by all.
The Archive as Conversation
Presented in eight containers at the Open Plaza of the National Library Building, The Archive as Conversation continues as apparatuses, dialogues and new & old mediums in the form of revisiting old photo studio images, installations, photo prints, videos and conceptual narratives by nine artists including three from Singapore.
Programmes & Workshops
Talks, presentations, guided tours, professional workshops and portfolio review will be held across various locations throughout the festival. Student education programmes and guided tours are also available for booking by schools.
The 5th Singapore International Photography Festival takes place from 19 August to 13 November 2016.