Commentary on photography vis-a-vis painting

Aug 12, 2008

TODAY (p 22 – 23) carried a commentary by Mayo Martin on the growing photography lovers and practitioners in the local arts scene. The lead-in for this article touched on Joel Yuen’s win at this year’s UOB Painting of the Year award with his set of photographs carrying animals’ parts. While it garnered a fair bit of negative responses from local artists, Martin noted that this could be a turning point in the local photography scene. For one, Singapore’s first art gallery for photography, 2902 Gallery opened in February, and its owners are preparing for the inaugural Singapore International Photography Festival. SAM’s Low Sze Wee was quoted saying that photography has not attained the status of “mainstream art”. SAM for instance houses only a very small number of photography pieces, with painting, sculptures and installations taking up the bulk of its collections. On another note, Martin said that what makes photography as an art appealing is its ability to reach out the masses and capture the imagination of many. For example, Noise Singapore received 3,312 photo entries in 2007, up from the 714 in 2005. Martin also noted that last year’s Art Show and the upcoming Singapore Biennale has and will feature photography shows.