Putting disabilities into focus

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Lucien de Guise, a columnist for the New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, wrote on 21Thursday (read more), an opinion piece about Victor Chin’s photographic exhibition currently at KLPac until 29 February.

This collection of photographs has attracted a few commentaries including: Andrew Sia from the StarMag (read more), Anandhi Gopinath from The Edge (read more), Jade Chan from the Star Metro (read more) and Loke Poh Lin from the NST Streets (read more).

These several editorial writings with the display of the photographs of the disabled persons are putting disabilities and art into focus. The continuing drive by Victor to tour his pictures and to invite the mass media’s support is an effort to communicate and promote a public understanding between the different communities, from the mainstream and those often vulnerable groups, like the disabled with the arts. But how many will take notice and visit the show at the KLPac, is hard to tell, especially at a time like now, when the whole nation is caught up with our country’s political, social and economic issues, in the coming 12th general election.

Lucien de Guise mentioned some photographers who were working at the time of the world’s great political, social and economic depression in the 1930s. A few American photographers like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evens were commissioned by the US authorities to document the poverty of farmers and the other communities at that period. Lange’s iconic image Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, evoked at that time and even to day, the plight of the poor and projected an image of the need to provide basic needs. Evens photographed the black neighborhoods and his Negro Barber Shop, Interior, Atlanta, 1936, was and is still influential politically as well as artistically till today. These iconic images have had some influence on many photographers including our photographers like Eric Peris and Ismail Hashim and now Victor Chin.

It is fair to say that almost every photographer, from any parts of the world, at one time or the other, are inspired by their early photographic great grandparents like Paul Strand, Blind Woman, New York,1916, and many other nameless photographers.

Photo: Lee Sheng Chow, Javelin thrower, 2006, Mohd Izwan Foniran, High jumper, 2006.