[ 2018 FUJIFILM / YOUNG TALENT AWARD SHORTLIST ]
My Grandmother’s father and brother were both beheaded by the Japanese during the occupation of Malaysia from 1941 to 1945 during WWII for being Chinese. This meant she had to flee the country with her mother at the age of 3. With this leaving of the country, all ties to her heritage were severed. In 2016 I went out to Malaysia to explore how atrocities have many indirect effects, including myself not feeling as having ties to Chinese or Eastern culture. From this trip I managed to find long lost family through a common ancestor and was able to fill in their family tree for them as well as add to my own. Through these connections I tried to find out as much as I could about my Grandmothers father and brother, where they would have lived and worked. Also exploring the myth that my Grandmother believes her brother is still alive. While exploring my family history I also look at the locations of atrocities and the inspection centres which led to these atrocities to contemplate wether my family would have been subject to these locations. I also look at Singapore as an important amount of the Japanese occupation was carried out there. An interesting aspect about this work is that prior to the Japanese, the British had occupied Malaysia so for me to come as a British citizen to make work here draws up interesting parallels which I am yet to explore further.
This project explores indirect effects of war on a personal scale which is something that I have not yet encountered. With my previous work I have looked at indirect effects from war and tried to keep an objective outlook on the happenings that I made work on. This work combines my examination of war with the question of identity as I have such a diverse heritage, it seems that war, like millions of others, has shaped my life without it being evident at all to me bringing me to question myself as well as the development of civilisation.
With an interest in the spectacle of modern warfare, I explore spaces in which conflict occur particularly interested in the indirect effects on war; how they surface in the everyday and how these issues are dealt with in absence of mainstream media. Using a simple, unintrusive approach to many of the projects, I attempt to make invisible subjects visible through the use of landscape and context. Photographing in a slow and quiet manor, I try to force the viewer to study the image to extract the most information they can to then be reinforced by their own contextual knowledge and personal views. Consciously realising my place as a western spectator of modern conflict issues, I try to make work which aims to resonate with the western viewer in a non-confrontational way, believing empathy is most effective when the viewer pieces the puzzle together for themselves.
The Fujifilm/Young Talent Award is supported by Fujifilm