In Southeast Asia, some of the most affecting work involving photography concerns the family. There are at least two prevailing approaches here. One involves the artist working with her or his family members in a collaborative process to create imageries. The other uses the family as a discursive site to explore personal and social issues.
In this exhibition, I have selected five artists who unravel the theme in different ways. Stemming from this intention, the exhibition also registers some of the artistic strategies adopted by practitioners today. I see their approaches as embedded in the milieus that they operate, shaped by ideas and visuals that circulate locally and globally, and marked by personal desires and creative decisions in their practices. I reject the reductive idea propagated by some art historians, curators and artists that the act of taking a snap is naïve, as though the photographer does this mindlessly in an ideatic vacuum.
The five bodies of work selected here stem from a “world-making” intent. I relate this with the intention of the artists in wanting to make the experiences of art making as fulfilling and real for themselves and their collaborators.
The exhibited projects include Maika Elan’s Like My Father (2013), Nge Lay’s The Relevancy of Restricted Things (2010), Sean Lee’s Two People (2010- ), Vuth Lyno’s Thoamada II (2013) and Minstrel Kuik’s Mer.rily, Mer.rily, Mer.rily, Mer.rily (2008-13).