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26 September 2021 – “With You Here Between: Defamiliarizations” at Objectifs Centre

Every year we look forward to the Curator Open Call at Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, and this year is no exception. This year’s With You Here Between: Defamiliarizations is curated by Elaine Thanya Marie Teo and Tekad Kolectif, and it’s a show that captures that deep sense of yearning while existing in the spaces between.

This might mean different things for each of the young artists in the show: Dylan Chan, Fitri Ya’akob, Masuri Mazlan and Vimal Kumar. But every one of them approaches it with a touching sincerity that tugs at the heart.

With You Here Between: Defamiliarizations runs until 31 Oct 2021, so do check it out if you have the chance! Meanwhile, have a peek of it here first:

Vimal Kumar, Iconic and Aniconic Waterbody: Reimagining the Singapore River (2021).

Vimal Kumar imagines that a shrine to the Singapore River Goddess might look like, reintroducing a sense of divine presence into this space that was once a chapel. Take the time to pore through the details of his installation, where the artist has fictionalised history in some very thoughtful yet tongue-in-cheek ways. (There is even a 4D number hidden somewhere!)

Masuri Mazlan, Unhommely Desires II: We Can Change the Stories We Tell Ourselves (2021).
A large grotesque oblong shape intrudes on the immaculate domestic scenes that Masuri Mazlan has created. In this case, it is that of a shower stall.
The bedroom scene contains portrait photographs of the artist’s identity shrouded by fabric, pointing to the protection that can be afforded by subterfuge when identity is a nebulous territory to negotiate.
An image that’s part of Masuri Mazlan’s There’s Nothing Wrong Contemplating God (SOS d’un terrien en détresse) (2021).

Utilising a familiar domestic motif of parquet flooring, Dylan Chan invokes that which he had grown up with as a child to conceal and preserve intimate memories within the gaps. We are left standing on the outside, as an outsider looking in on slivers of a scene that we can only guess at.
Dylan Chan, I Wish to See You (2021). Images reveal themselves and then swiftly disappear as one traverses the length of the work. It is coy; it plays hide-and-seek, it reads like a flirtation.

Fitri Ya’akob”, Orang Laut (2017). The lighting in Fitri Ya’akob’s images of the Orang Laut suffuse the subjects in a glow that’s simultaneously romantic and heartbreaking.As she puts it, she is documenting “a one-sided relationship between the ocean and the people.”
Fitri Ya’akob, Akar (2020). Akar means ‘root’ in Malay – the artist laments for a return to a far-off home during this time of loss and separation, seeking spaces in Singapore to assuage this loss.


Feature image: (from left) Vimal Kumar, Elaine Thanya Marie Teo, Dylan Chan, Masuri Mazlan and Fitri Ya’akob in front of Vimal Kumar’s Iconic and Aniconic Waterbody: Reimagining the Singapore River (2021).