This exhibition, entitled Moderns in Our Midst showcases a unique group of buildings that are not usually appreciated as ‘heritage’, as they are ‘everyday’ structures that form the backdrop of Singaporeans’ daily lives - public housing, places of worship, schools, markets and workplaces. This exhibition grew out of Our Modern Past, a landmark book project on Singapore’s early Modern architecture initiated by the Singapore Heritage Society to raise public awareness of the increasingly threatened 20th Century built heritage especially from the post-war and post–independence periods.
Taken over a span of ten years, these photographs by award-winning architectural photographer, the late Jeremy San Tzer Ning (1976-2013), represent a passionate, ambitious and wide-ranging undertaking to capture Singapore’s endangered early Modernist architecture as it stands in the first decade of the 21st century. Hitherto dismissed as utilitarian, these buildings have endured to become a testimony to the era that produced them, charting the tumultuous transition from an immigrant society and colonial city to a more confident nation–state with an emerging identity of its own.
San’s images capture the struggles and achievements of the era, and the poignancy of these forgotten buildings today, neglected as reminders of a more humble and uncertain time. The large format prints in heroic proportions and novel perspectives capture the grit and grace of these places, charged with the unique stories of their creators and inhabitants.
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