Our Photo Exhibition Has Ended

Last day of the photographis exhibition at KLPac
Last day of our photographic exhibition on the death of our mothers at KLPac.

The joint photographic exhibition titled “Exits – The Mysteries of Death” with Victor Chin and Wuan ended last Sunday. I felt a little sad and lost as Victor and Wuan began taking down the frames. It took this long to sink in that we do not need to go to KLPac anymore on weekends.

Victor and Wuan taking down the frames
Victor and Wuan taking down the frames hanging on the wall and panels.

Wuan and I and Victor spent six weekends at KLPac talking to visitors and sharing with them the stories behind the images. In talking, we relived the pain and anguish of experiencing the deaths of our mothers respectively. Yet, it was also a celebration to us – celebrating the love and care that our mothers had imparted to us. In sharing with visitors, we also came to realise many more aspects of our parents that we never knew.

Victor and Wuan arranging the frame for transportation
Packing up to leave.

At the same time, the images brought out a lot of emotions in our visitors, with many of them telling us that they were reminded of their loved ones. A number had tears in their eyes as they recalled the last moments they spent with a parent or a grandparent.

Bare wall and panels at KLPac's Pentas 2 foyer.
The bare wall and panels. The end of our exhibition.

Wuan and I are extremely glad that Victor took us under his wings and guided us along the way. Never had I envisioned to share the photographs of my mother and of her funeral in such a way. It was a liberating experience to be able to open up to strangers on a subject as intimate as this. Besides, death is something we seldom want to talk about openly. Thank you, Victor, for taking us on this unforgettable journey. We would also like to thank friends and visitors who dropped by to share with us their stories and for leaving messages in the guest book.

The Post-Wedding Banquet Post

Wuan has gone back to work. All outstanding matters for the wedding banquet have been settled. The joint photo exhibition with Victor Chin has been up and running for more than one week already. Things are back to normal, well almost. Today is the first time in many weeks that I can sit back, relax and gather my thoughts coherently. So many people to thank; so many photos to sort. More on this and some others in the next few entries. For now, I just want to enjoy the serenity and peace of mind.

With Victor Chin At DCIM Show 2009

Victor Chin delivering his presentation on The Imperfect Body - Challenging some photographic aesthetic values at DCIM Show 2009
Victor Chin talking about The Imperfect Body at DCIM Show 2009.

A few days ago, Victor Chin invited me to give a short presentation together with him at the DCIM Show that was to be held at the Mid Valley Convention Centre. The session was on Sunday. When I agreed to his invitation, I was half awake and did not give it much thought. The evening before the session, no thanks to my procrastination, I huriedly prepared a script and did a four-slide PowerPoint presentation.

Victor’s presentation was titled “The Imperfect Body – Challenging some photographic aesthetic values.” He showed a series of photographs of disabled people adapting and coping with their impairments from an artistic point of view. He shared with the audience about the various images that he took from his perspective as a photographer.

Peter Tan giving a talk about Disabled People and Photography at DCIM Show 2009
Peter Tan on Disabled People and Photography at DCIM Show 2009.

It was refreshing in a way because I seldom get to hear an alternative view other than those that are relevant to my advocacy work. I have attended two of his exhibitions on disabled people and it was only at that seminar that I had a better understanding why his photographs were captured from a certain perspective.

Truth be told, up to the time when I was supposed to deliver my presentation, I was unsure if the topic I had prepared was appropriate and whether the audience would fall asleep halfway through. My photography skills still leave much to be desired and there I was, slotted to speak just after an accomplished artist and photographer, and before an audience of serious photographers brandishing intimidating gears.

Victor Chin responding to an audience after the talk
Victor Chin responding to a question from an audience after the talk at DCIM Show 2009.

The title of my presentation was Disabled People and Photography. I spoke about how many disabled people are invisible from society due to the infrastructural barriers and how Victor’s photographs has provided an insight into the seldom-seen facets. I also talked about how I have used photographs for my advocacy work and how cameras are still inaccessible to people with limited hand function.

All in, I hope I had created some awareness among the photographers who sat through the session regarding disability. Photography and disabled people do not really mix well in Malaysia but through Victor’s effort in exhibiting his images on disabled people, disability may just been seen in a different light. Many thanks to Victor Chin for sharing his platform with me and for allowing me to present disability issues to a few more people at the seminar.