“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” — Aaron Siskind, renowned American photographer.
Photography, like our naked eyes, has the capability to capture beautiful memories through one’s life journey. SMUSAIC, SMU’s photography club, in its most recent exhibition for SMU Arts Festival 2016 has managed to capture the journey of one’s life through their lenses, using a FRESH! new concept. The project, titled Passage of Evolution, a collaboration with SMU INDANCITY and SMU Literati, is a breath-taking concept which showcases human evolution and growth in three distinct art forms – photography, dance and literature.
The inception of the idea started off with SMUSAIC wanting to transcend expectations. They wanted to attempt something revolutionary, a creation which combines photography and art - not just any kind of art, but art in motion as well as art on paper. With that in mind, SMUSAIC reached out to two other art clubs (SMU INDANCITY and SMU Literati), which they have never worked with before, to conceptualize their idea. When speaking to Desmond Neo, President of SMUSAIC, one could simply feel the enthusiasm he radiates as he shares about the exhibition “We wanted to create something fresh, to be more than just photography for recreational activities. It was really a challenging but exciting task because we started everything from scratch, on our own”, with his eyes gleaming, showing a sense of achievement.
Each piece in Passage of Evolution depicts a distinct point in one’s stage of growth and the corresponding emotions that one would experience at that point in life. The photographs clearly reflect the photographers’ skills as each piece brilliantly captures the dancers’ emotions at that moment in time, as though time had frozen for them. Perhaps the most interesting point about this exhibition is that it incorporates the clever use flour (yes, I’m serious - flour) as a medium to create the effect of a time freeze. Apart from its purpose of being abstract and thought-provoking, the concept of Growth ties in perfectly with INDANCITY’s 10th anniversary and highlights the contemporary dance club’s milestones over the years.
A dancer in foetus position, symbolising the first stage of growth
Dancers depicting the dependence between a toddler and a mother. Even though the “mother” is physically small, she holds the weight of her “toddler”
A dancer in her youth stage; fearless and rebellious. Even though people from her environment are judging her, she continues living in her own world, with a nonchalant attitude
A dancer at her peak of life, taking off to greater heights.
A quiet moment of reflection
A dancer looking forward to her future - what’s next?
Despite being 3 different art clubs with different expressions of art, each club managed to bring out the concept of Growth in their own unique way. While dancers from SMU INDANCITY interpreted the concept of Growth through their dance movements, and SMUSAIC through their photographs, SMU Literati writers did so through words. Armed with the post processed photos, the writers discuss the emotions and thoughts that are triggered within them after viewing the pictures. Their pieces bring the audience one full circle in providing them not only with a visually, but also a mentally rich expression.
Toh Gui-Lyn, President of SMU INDANCITY, shared that it had been an eye-opening experience for her and her dancers. From formulating and building the concept, to learning how to work with such a unique medium like flour. Jyot Bhalla, member of SMU Literati, recalls her journey of being part of the team. Apart from capturing the beautiful pieces, what really inspired her was when SMUSAIC shared the interpretations of each picture. These pieces are a strong reflection of the soul which contributed greatly to creating and capturing these moments.
Passage of Evolution reflects how art has no boundaries; although in various different forms, it can be amalgamated to create an exquisite piece of art. What I’ve shared is merely scratching the surface of this exhibition. To fully appreciate these ethereal pieces alongside the literary expression, head down to SMU Li Ka Shing Library where the pieces are currently being exhibited!
Dancers: Amanda Hoo, Chloe Coo, Colleen Ngui, Dana Chan, Gertrude Cheung, Lee Ser Jean
Photographers: Tun Lin Win (Fred), Desmond Neo
Assistants: Kuah Qing Wan, Raynie Moo, Erica Lim, Tee Shi Hui, Tay Jia Hui
Poets: Benn Chang, Grace Lim, Ian Ang, Jyot Bhalla, Nicole Hilary Teo, Stephanie Leong, Timothy Long, Yeo Si Yuan