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Steep yourself in local nostalgia at this exhibition on lost places in Singapore

Two photographers, one showcase

By Amanda Chai | Aug 01, 2017

  • Steep yourself in local nostalgia at this exhibition on lost places in Singapore
    The Rochore Kongsi for the Aged. Photo credit: Lau Eng Seng.

Following the closure of the Sungei Road Thieves Market, the air is ripe for remembering and honouring local places that have ceased to be. To address this flood of nostalgia, the Objectifs team is happy to oblige—with a series of exhibitions that fully embrace our local heritage this birthday month. From Aug 17-27, catch a joint exhibition between local photographers Chia Aik Beng and Lau Eng Seng, whose mutually curated photographs shed a little more light on now absent, but still important, parts of the Singapore narrative.

Mute by Chia Aik Beng

Did you know that from the 1860s to 1945 the Bugis area was nicknamed Little Japan? Enter Chia’s personal mission to immortalize Little Japan’s erased history and buildings, before they’re lost to urbanization forever. Mute documents Chia’s encounters with elderly Japanese who remember the area, and follows his visits to the less-ventured Japanese cemetery park in Singapore—also known as the first major burial site for young karayukisans (Japanese prostitutes).

"Mrs Sato at her Emily Hill home." Photo credit: Chia Aik Beng
"Mrs Gan, Site of West Coast Road, near Blk 701 where she 1st met a Karayuki-san." Photo credit: Chia Aik Beng
"Japanese Cemetery Park." Photo credit: Chia Aik Beng
"Mrs Takahashi, Site of Japanese Cemetery Park." Photo credit: Chia Aik Beng

Till We Meet Again—What to Keep? by Lau Eng Seng

Rochor Centre is one place near and dear to Singaporeans’ hearts—even if it took the announcement of its impending demolishment for them to realize it. The 40-year-old high rise complex previously housed 567 households and 187 shops, all of which have since been cleared out to make way for a new expressway. Lau has been intensively photographing the building and its residents since 2009, as an investigation into what Singaporeans are losing in the country’s pursuit of national development and growth.

"Podium in disguise." Photo credit: Lau Eng Seng
"Underground car park for HDB buildings - the first in Singapore." Photo credit: Lau Eng Seng
"Portrait of Dr. Toh Chin Chye in the Rochor Kongsi for the Aged." Photo credit: Lau Eng Seng
"Mr. Lam of Tien Foh & Co. - (I do not like him), a comment made by Mr. Lam whilst he were deciding whether to keep the Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew." Photo credit: Lau Eng Seng

The exhibition runs from Aug 17-27 at the Objectifs Lower Gallery. Admission is free, more information here

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