The first ever Migrant Workers Photography Festival looks at life in Singapore with a different lens

Photo by Rana, a Bangladeshi Senior HSE Coordinator who’s been in Singapore for 10 years. The image depicts migrant workers before starting the job, making promises to follow the proper safety guidelines at the work site.
Photo by Rana, a Bangladeshi Senior HSE Coordinator who’s been in Singapore for 10 years. The image depicts migrant workers before starting the job, making promises to follow the proper safety guidelines at the work site.

Migrant workers have shared the spotlight before at Objectifs, an independent non-profit gallery at Middle Road that hosts exhibitions, film and photography workshops, and events in its quarters. But not like this.

At the first ever Migrant Workers Photography Festival in September, 12 images by 12 finalists will be displayed for 10 days at the exhibition space. What started as a casual conversation between the organizers about hosting a photography fest for the migrant community soon came to fruition, as 118 submissions poured in for the three categories: Landscape and Nature, People and Culture, and Places and Architecture.

The open call welcomed pictures by migrant workers in Singapore, regardless of gender, age, nationality, or occupation, as long as they fit into the theme of “Life in Singapore.” The resulting 12 shortlisted works were ones that best captured the perspectives and expressions of this community.

Finalists ranged in age from late 20s to early 40s, with most of them coming from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, having spent anywhere from three to 11 years in Singapore. After a review by a trio of judges, an opening reception will be hosted at Objectifs on Sept 8 to announce the winners for each category.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the selected images below.

'In the Bubbles World' by Ana Rohana, a foreign domestic worker from Indonesia.
“In the Bubbles World” by Ana Rohana, a foreign domestic worker from Indonesia. Photo: Ana Rohana
'Hanging Dry' by Clarisse de Guzman Victorio, a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines. Photo: Clarisse de Guzman Victorio
“Hanging Dry” by Clarisse de Guzman Victorio, a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines. Photo: Clarisse de Guzman Victorio
'Turtle' taken at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Indonesian foreign domestic worker Ermawati. Photo: Ermawati
“Turtle” taken at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Indonesian foreign domestic worker Ermawati. Photo: Ermawati
'The Smile' taken at Chinatown by Clarisse de Guzman Victorio. Photo: Clarisse de Guzman Victorio
“The Smile” taken at Chinatown by Clarisse de Guzman Victorio. Photo: Clarisse de Guzman Victorio
'A Twilight from Balcony' by Uddipon Roy Chowdhury (Apu), a Bangladeshi HSE Supervisor. Photo: Uddipon Roy Chowdhury (Apu)
“A Twilight from Balcony” by Uddipon Roy Chowdhury (Apu), a Bangladeshi HSE Supervisor. Photo: Uddipon Roy Chowdhury (Apu)

 

FIND IT:
Migrant Workers Photography Festival is on from Sept 5-15 at Objectifs, Lower Gallery. Opening reception on Sept 8 at noon.

Tues-Sat noon-7pm, Sun noon-4pm. Free admission.
MRT: Bencoolen/Bugis/Bras Basah


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