4th Singapore International Photography Festival 2014: Open Call Showcase

National Museum of Singapore
Various Timings

Image courtesy: Gustavo Lacerda, from the series Albinos. SIPF 2014.

The Singapore International Photography Festival 2014, with the theme of "The Infinity", celebrates the endless possibilities that ideas and collaborations can bring. The 4th edition of the festival continues in its mission to break new ground for photography in Singapore by propelling forward as the international photography stage in the region, pushing boundaries to present refreshing and meaningful content and going beyond the ordinary to create a memorable experience for all.

The exhibitions that are taking place within NMS is part of the festival’s Open Call Showcase. Aside from the venues stated within NMS, the open call showcase will also be taking place at 2902 Gallery, Chapel Gallery (former Sculpture Square), and the Festival Village at DECK.

With some 47 entries from 23 countries, the Open Call showcase at the National Museum features a broad range of subject and themes. There is a strong engagement with portraiture and social portraiture not only in a formal mode but also, in a more photojournalistic manner. These works capture daily ways of life of both ordinary citizens, of travellers and sightseers and those living on the margins of contemporary society and the modern city.

National Museum – Platform

The Museum as Platform
The selections here are made to resonate with the manifest activities of the National Museum of Singapore, from world cinema, to socio-political events and to investigations into history and myth. The openness of the platform space encourages the visitor to ambulate between these various distinct domains.

National Museum – Concourse

Visions of Peculiarities
Works shown here present intimate but sometimes wry glimpses into the various idiosyncrasies of particular persons, spaces and time.

National Museum – Banyan Tree Gallery

Mastering the Monochrome
Features the best selections of black and white photography in the Open Call but also allows for the interruption of the presentation by a final set of C-prints, connecting the Banyan Tree Gallery to the presentation in the Concourse.

National Museum – Stamford Gallery

Play and Portray
Portraits are the predominant feature of this gallery and they take us up close to the sensuous and sometimes incredulous individuality of each face, body and situation.

Portfolio Review

4 to 5 Oct | 10am – 6pm
Salon, Level 2
This session is limited to 40 participants.

The Portfolio Review aims to bridge the distance between photographers, curators, critics and editors based in different continents. In this one-to-one session, photographers meet with reviewers of their choice for discussion, advice and guidance on their existing works and career development. Each participant can meet up to seven reviewers of their choice over two days. Each individual review session is 20-minutes long. Participants will be selected based on submitted portfolio.

Best Portfolio Prize includes a prize award of EIZO CG247 Colour Monitor by EIZO and S$1,000 by Nikon (Singapore).

Apply online at
Deadline of application: 30 September 2014
Limited to 40 participants. Fee: $300 (for selected participant)

For list of reviewers, please visit


Free admission and registration required for Festival Pass holders. Enter access code given with festival pass.

For non-festival pass holders, admission fee applies.

Flavours: Trends in Thai Photography

By Ark Fongsmut
4 Oct | 4pm – 5pm
Gallery Theatre | Registration here

About the Speaker:
Ark Fongsmut graduated with a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Since his graduation, he has exploited his knowledge in that field while pursuing an interest in Visual Arts. In 1999, he read Curatorship at Goldsmith University, London. Up till now, he still uses his political science background, as it helps in crystallising the ideas from looking and seeing thoroughly, in curating contemporary art projects. Presently, he is a curator at Bangkok University Gallery and an art lecturer to many universities.

"Spatial Turn" in Chinese Contemporary Photography

By curator and writer Gu Zheng
5 Oct | 3pm – 4pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here

Image courtesy: Gu Zheng’s 曾力,《北京.朝外SOHO》2007

Since China’s huge social change “The Reform and Opening”, it has brought about rapid changes of space within China’s landscape. Gu Zheng will illustrate these changes through the works of Chinese contemporary photographers – in concept and language.

About the Speaker:
Gu Zheng earned his PhD in 1998, in comparative cultural studies, at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan. He is currently lecturing in the School of Journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. He also works at the Centre for Information and Communication Studies, and is the deputy director of the university’s Research Centre for Visual Culture. Aside from curating a number of shows in Korea, China, and USA, Gu Zheng has also published over a dozen books on photography, photographic history, and the theory of visual arts. His latest books included Contemporary Chinese Photography (2011), and Selected Works of Gu Zheng on Photography (2012).

Form of Light

By artist Wang Ningde
6 Oct | 2pm – 3pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here

In Form of Light, Wang Ningde goes a step further to deconstruct the original image form and representation to later reconstruct it for the viewer as an abstract and inverted photographic mirage. He says, "These works are about photography, not photographic works with the purpose to express something. The following words provide clues to interpreting my works: reality and illusion; light and shadow; horizontal and vertical; fragmented and whole; solid and empty; with and without..."

History of Polish Books

By writer and artist Katarzyna Majak
6 Oct | 4pm – 5pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here

Image courtesy: Zofia Rydet’s Mały człowiek

An overview of Polish Photo Book history – from its beginnings until 1989 when Poland regained independence from previously being under communist regime and the market was freed. Richly illustrated with book covers and spreads, showing most precious achievements in Polish book publishing – beginning with the time when Poland was divided between 3 countries (the so called “partitions period”), through avant garde, socialist propaganda books until the so-called samizdat books – underground self-made artists books during Polish Martial Law. Among many artists presented will be books by: Jan Bulhak, Edward Hartwig, Zofia Rydet, Leca Wilczek, Jan Styczynski, Tadeusz Przypkowski, Adam Bujak, Kultura Zrzuty.

About the Speaker:
Katarzyna Majak received her PhD from Poznan Academy of Fine Arts. Artistic Director and member of Programme Board of Warsaw Photo Days. Majak curates and coordinates photography shows in and out of her native country, Poland; lectures on Polish and Eastern European photography as well as collects photographs (Vienna PhotoBook Festival, Mai Mano House (Budapest). She is the curator of the “Many Hands Make Light Work” private photo collection and wrote for Kwartalnik Fotografia, Cafe Creme, Fotograf Magazine, Archivo Zine Magazine, 1000 Words Photography Magazine, Format, EXIT, LAB EAST – 30 Photographers from Eastern Europe and numerous catalogues.

Ground up – China on the margins

By Sim Chi Yin
19 Oct | 2pm – 3pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here

Image courtesy of Sim Chi Yin

Join Sim Chi Yin, a VII Photo Agency photographer based in China, for an afternoon of photos and discussion of her work documenting Chinese society at the grassroots. From petitioners sleeping rough and migrants living in Beijing’s basements, to gold miners waiting for death in the remote mountains, Chi Yin has found ways to access communities on the fringe and then worked in an intimate, close-up way to tell their stories.

A fourth-generation overseas Chinese who was born and grew up in Singapore, Chi Yin returned seven years ago to the land her great-grandfather had left at the turn of the century. The New York Times-accredited photographer in China, Chi Yin also takes photographs for a variety of publications, including TIME Magazine, the New Yorker, Businessweek and Le Monde. She is also working on several projects involving people at the margins of Chinese society and cutting her first documentary film.

Chi Yin will also talk about the personal story she is working on: how her paternal grandfather – a journalist and community leader – was deported from British Malaya to China, joined the Chinese Communist Party guerrilla army and was executed just before the Communist victory in 1949.

About the Speaker:
Sim Chi Yin is a photographer based in Beijing, a member of VII Photo Agency. She is on the British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch list of photographers in 2014. She was also among the PDN30 – Photo District News’ top 30 emerging photographers – in 2013. Chi Yin was a journalist and foreign correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore’s national English language daily, for nine years before quitting to shoot. Since going freelance in 2011, she has also photographed for The New Yorker, TIME, Le Monde, Newsweek, Vogue USA, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, New York Times Sunday Magazine and Stern. In 2010, she was awarded a Magnum Foundation “Photography and Human Rights” fellowship at New York University.

Evening Presentation

5 to 6 Oct | 7.30pm – 10pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here
Free admission for Festival Pass holders (registration required)
$12 per evening for non-pass holders

Image: Wilfred Lim, Superhero (from the series Self Portraits)

Conducted in a casual setting, the Evening Presentation is an opportunity for the audience to draw closer to 14 photographers and their works. Presentations include the Salaryman Project by Bruno Quinquet (France) on the exploration of normality in the world of Tokyo’s office workers, and Polish Contemporary Photography - Highlights by Katarzyna Majak (Poland). In Majak’s presentation, she will speak about most prominent Polish young generation photographers Agnieszka Rayss, Wojtek Wilczyk, Mikolaj Grospierre, Adam Panczuk, Bownik, Dorota Buczkowska, and Przemek Dzienis.

5 October, Sunday 6 October, Monday
Lau Chi-Chung (Hong Kong) Katarzyna Majak (Poland)
Bruno Quinquet (France) Laura Liverani (Italy)
Rony Zakaria (Indonesia) Colin Steel (United Kingdom)
Zinkie Aw (Singapore) Wut Chalanant (Thailand)
Wilfred Lim (Malaysia) Ore Huiying (Singapore)
Juliet Chenery-Robson (United Kingdom) Carrie Lam (Singapore)
Mariya Kozhanova (Russia) Chen I-Hsuen (Taiwan)
Mike Gray (Australia)  

For more information, visit

Signature Development by Erik Vroons

6 and 7 Oct, 1 day workshop | 11am – 5pm
Seminar Room, Level 2
This session is limited to 10 participants per day. | Register here
Fee: $300

Image courtesy of GUP magazine

Who am I as an artist and what is my work about, exactly? These are fundamental questions in order to arrive at a successful career in photography – regardless of the genre or field of work.

Conducted by Erik Vroons (Chief Editor of GUP Magazine), Erik will help participants shape a concept and a strategy on how to communicate the project – both in curating the work itself (within the idea that ‘the medium is the message’) and artist statement (both oral and textual).

The aim of this workshop is to develop and shape ‘authorship’ as a photographer by awareness of conceptual thinking; how to reflect on and to communicate a work in progress both visually and in written word; building and layering a story by editing.

About the Speaker:
Erik Vroons (1976, The Netherlands) is the Chief Editor of international photography magazine GUP (print/quarterly). He is also the Chief Editor of the tabloid magazine NewDawn, on contemporary photography in The Netherlands (print/bimonthly/Dutch only). Annually, GUP Magazine also presents a catalogue (NEW) with fresh Dutch photography talent, of which he is a co-editor. Besides that, Erik is a parttime teacher at the Foto Factory, a private school for photograph in Amsterdam, where he specializes in ‘Signature Development’, and organizes workshops. In the recent past, he has been involved in several curatorial and editorial activities related to photography – among which collaborations with Dutch/Turkish photographer Ahmet Polat.

Of Lost Time in Search - By Klavdij Sluban

4 Oct | 2 - 3pm
Gallery Theatre | Register here

Image: ©Klavdij Sluban. Camp disciplinaire de Nievel,Russie 1998

Photography has become so present in our contemporary world that a child is confronted to images way before starting to read, and nowadays, anybody owns a device capable of capturing pictures. Without the knowledge of interpreting and ‘reading’ the images constantly surrounding us, we become a new species of illiterate masses of our modern times. Therefore, what is the definition of a photographer?

About the Speaker
Winner of the European Publishers Award for Photography 2009, of the Leica Prize (2004) and of the Niépce Prize (2000), main French prize in photography, Klavdij Sluban is a French photographer of Slovenian origin born in Paris in 1963. He develops a rigorous and coherent body of work, nourished by literature, never inspired by immediate and sensational current affairs, making him one of the most interesting photographers of his generation. The Balkans, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, Central America, Russia, China and the Antarctic (first artistic mission in the Kerguelen islands) can be read as many successive steps of an in-depth study of a patient proximity to the encountered real. His images have been shown in such leading institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Photography of Tokyo, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Rencontres d'Arles, the Museum of Photography in Helsinki, the Fine Arts Museum in Canton, the Musée Beaubourg, theMuseum of Texas Tech University. His many books include Beirut (Steidl), East to East (published simultaneously by Actes Sud, Dewi Lewis, Peliti, Braus, Apeiron & Lunwerg with a text by Erri de Luca), Entre Parenthèses, (Photo Poche, Actes Sud), Transverses, (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) and Balkans -Transit, with a text by François Maspero (Seuil). Since 1995, Sluban has been running photography workshops with young offenders in prison. First originated in France, in the prison of Fleury-Mérogis with support from Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud and William Klein, this commitment was pursued in the disciplinary camps of Eastern Europe –Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia, Latvia – and in the disciplinary centres of Moscow and St Petersburg as well as in Ireland. Since 2007 Sluban has been working in Central America with imprisoned youngsters belonging to maras (gangs) in Guatemala and Salvador. In 2013, the musée Niépce showed a retrospective of K.Sluban's work, After Darkness, 1992-2012.

Family Time

Take a trip through 700 years of Singapore's history with your little ones with our Family Time Guide to find out how life in this Lion City has changed over the centuries. On your journey, you will meet various historical figures as well as landmark objects in each phase of Singapore's history. Explore how people from different communities used to live, their aspirations and how they helped shape the Singapore we see today.

Museum guide

Download our museum guide (English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Tamil) to find out about the many treasures in our various galleries. In this guide, you will also find the floor plan for easier navigation. Enjoy your visit!

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