‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’

Fraidden Dewan, swimmer,2006

Andrew Sia, a senior writer from the Star newspaper, wrote about Victor Chin’s photographic exhibition, in the Statmag, Sunday 17 February (read more). He highlighted that in Victor’s show, ‘Traditional notions of beauty and ugliness are challenged and redefined in an unusual exhibition that invites viewers to look at things from different perspectives’.

In the review Victor said that in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the witches cry: ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’ and that tragic play urges us to look at the human condition with all its varieties and varied forms when confronting difficult questions such as: what is beauty and ugliness, right and wrong, justice and injustice.

To the many disabled persons, either born with anomalies or was maimed through accidents etc. the first question in their mind must be ‘How can this happen to me, this is not fair, this is foul’. There are really no good or a bad, right or wrong, answers to this acute inquiry. Each individual has to find their own perceptive solutions to this question for themselves. Many of them do not find agreeable answers but there are also many who find their way out through sports and other recreations and creative endeavors.

From Victor’s point of view, the question of what is beauty or ugliness is not the issue. What is at issue is our generosity of spirit. How often do we find ourselves over crediting beauty of one type or group and under crediting others which seemed alien to us? To him beauty or ugliness is more plentiful then we can imagine and what is more useful is a sense of big-heartedness.

In his eyes what is asymmetrical and out of proportions can be beautiful and eloquent in a photograph or a painting. This is not done by hiding the unpleasant and unsightly parts but instead seeing it as it is, straight in the face of disability- there is beauty in ugliness.