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Women Photographers Malaysia (WPM) is starting the new year on the front foot with Strength, a group photography exhibition which is currently showing at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPac).

Featuring the work of 21 women photographers, the exhibition follows WPM’s forward momentum, which saw it participating in the annual Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival last month.

Strength is WPM’s first standalone exhibition.

An open call was held a year ago, with the exhibition initially planned for March 2021, during the International Women's Day month. But the pandemic threw a spanner in the works and it was postponed.

Strength is an initiative that implores women

Women photographers in sharp focus at ‘Strength’ exhibition in PJPac

Women Photographers Malaysia (WPM) is starting the new year on the front foot with Strength, a group photography exhibition which is currently showing at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPac).

Featuring the work of 21 women photographers, the exhibition follows WPM’s forward momentum, which saw it participating in the annual Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival last month.

Strength is WPM’s first standalone exhibition.

An open call was held a year ago, with the exhibition initially planned for March 2021, during the International Women’s Day month. But the pandemic threw a spanner in the works and it was postponed.

Strength is an initiative that implores women photographers to embark upon a journey of discovery through a sea of avenues from which courage and perseverance can be found through visual interpretation.

Aisha Nazar's 'The Monk' captures a young scholar-monk with a large flask of Tibetan sweet tea heading to the daily philosophical debates held at the adjacent courtyard. Photo: Aisha Nazar Aisha Nazar’s ‘The Monk’ captures a young scholar-monk with a large flask of Tibetan sweet tea heading to the daily philosophical debates held at the adjacent courtyard. Photo: Aisha Nazar

“We are incredibly excited that after a solid year of postponement, we are finally able to see this exhibition come to fruition,” says Annice Lyn, a visual artist, documentary and sports photographer, who is a co-founder of WPM.Fellow WPM co-founders include Aisha Nazar and Carol Yong.

This community group, which was established in March 2020, aims to create a space where ideas can be nurtured, and support given, in pursuit of a passion for visual storytelling.WPM’s first showcase Her.Perspective was part of the online Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival in August 2020.

In-person exhibition

The Strength exhibition, which is happening at PJPac’s gallery space, highlights 21 curated photos revolving around the theme of strength, demonstrating different interpretations and spanning genres such as documentary, portrait, commercial, conceptual, photojournalist, hobbyist, family and wedding photography.

“For both Aisha and I as co-founders, as well as the WPM community, we all saw our lives change in the blink of an eye during these challenging (two) years of the global pandemic, and yet we always find ourselves emerging stronger than ever as we put our best foot forward with refreshed ideas, motivations and new-found courage.

“Holistically, a photo may be something to look at or swipe through, but the best images speak a thousand words and encompass many different realities,” says Lyn.

In Strength, the depiction of human interactions in families is a recurring imagery, a steadfast reminder that family and loved ones can be a circle of strength that will see us through a crisis.

SueAnne Koh's 'Refugee Baby For Sale'. In a refugee slum in Malaysia, a grandmother holds tightly to her 10-month-old grandchild who is being offered for sale to a stranger by the father due to poverty. This photograph was later gifted to the family as the first and maybe the last photograph taken of the duo. Photo: SueAnne Koh SueAnne Koh’s ‘Refugee Baby For Sale’. In a refugee slum in Malaysia, a grandmother holds tightly to her 10-month-old grandchild who is being offered for sale to a stranger by the father due to poverty. This photograph was later gifted to the family as the first and maybe the last photograph taken of the duo. Photo: SueAnne Koh

“We see the exhibition as an opportunity to use it for good. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to exhibit, and getting to share it with 21 talented women photographers definitely makes it far more special.

“Aisha and I believe it is crucial to create a community of women photographers, as it provides a direct female perspective and in turn shapes how society views women. Be it a hobby or a profession, and across domains from photojournalism to fashion photography, it’s important to have – and document – a female perspective.

“WPM hopes to continue to encourage a growing sector of women photographers by bridging the gender gap that fosters the development of women representation in the photographic industry and visual culture,” she adds.

Running concurrently with Strength is self-taught photographer Lydia Ho’s My Home My Playground showcase. Ho’s monochrome series was captured during last year’s nationwide MCO. There will be an artist talk on Jan 8 (11am).

On Jan 9 (3pm), WPM and Sony Malaysia will host a “Creative Portrait” workshop conducted by fashion photographer Raisa Azzam. In this workshop, learn hands-on techniques for photography, create portraits and immerse yourself in the art of storytelling. This is a ticketed event (RM50) that is open to everyone. Registration required.

The Strength exhibition, which ends on Jan 16, is supported by Canon Malaysia and venue partner PJPAC.

More info here.



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