CUT2012-New Photography from Southeast Asia - Politics
CUT 2012 is the latest installment of Valentine Willie Fine Art’s annual exhibition dedicated to contemporary photography in Southeast Asia. Featuring the work of new and emerging photographers across the region, the show focuses on the complexities of contemporary Southeast Asian politics and the relationship between people and State.
The changing faces of Government, that combine different styles of rule such as authoritarianism, democracy, monarchy and military, with desires for economic progress and social control, have instigated numerous unforgettable events across the region. These moments of development and inertia, change and oppression, protest and optimism make for some of the most memorable images in both photojournalism and fine art photography.
The past few years alone has seen great change and questioning of leadership from protests such as Bersih 3.0 for clean and fair elections throughout the streets of Kuala Lumpur in 2012, to the clash between the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts in Bangkok and subsequent change in Government of Thailand, to Singapore’s 2011 watershed general elections that highlighted a growing popularity (although not victorious result) for opposition leadership, the detention for electoral sabotage of former President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and finally Indonesia’s continuing struggles to overcome the legacies of the Sukarno regime and wide spread corruption. Such formidable leaders and political parties cast deep and long shadows over the citizens and countries under their custodianship. This relationship between people and State, of authority and self-determination is widely documented in images throughout the media. It is also questioned, spectacalised and objectified throughout contemporary art.
The role of photography within the unfolding of people, places and events is a complex one that serves to document, reveal and distort the understanding of history. The observation and problematisation of politics through photojournalism and fine art photography emphasises the dramatic nature of photography as theatre, mythmaker and breaker, instrument of propaganda as well as critical voice of and by society at large. It can be straightforward, subtle, symbolic and humorous, and the treatment of subject matter is endless.
CUT 2012: Politics runs from 8 June – 1 July 2012