5th Singapore International Photography Festival Takes To Downtown Line MRTs

The Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) returns with its fifth edition to celebrate the art of photography, embracing the theme, The Archive.

The characteristics which defined the festival from its first edition are firmly rooted, and continue to be evident in this showing: championing creativity and ideas, cultivating the appreciation of contemporary photography, inspiring new photographers to hone their art and advocating that photography can be enjoyed by all.

Since its inception, the SIPF has garnered success but continues to push forward. While persevering to provide a pivotal stepping stone for lesser known photographers and help spur them on to the international arena, the SIPF also does not lose sight of its other objective – to stimulate public interest in photography.

Thus, a festival showcase across six MRT stations, underscoring their desire in making this year’s festival destination-friendly, accessible and all-encompassing, beyond walls and into public spaces. The MRT photography festival trail is an ‘open concept’ that allows everyone to easily hop on and off the MRT to experience the art of photography.

Volatile States by Duy Phuong Le Nguyen, 5th Singapore International Photography Festival 2016 Open Call Artist.

2016 Theme: The Archive

In developing the theme for 2016, the approach delved into examining the nature of photographs as documentation of events, occasions, people and personal memories. The scrutiny considered how social consciousness affects one’s perception and changing perception of the function of a still image captured in this age of convenience.

“The Archive explores the nature, and roles of photography in society. The acute shift in the boundary of photography, alongside with technology advancement, and the surging social platform produced new frontiers and discovery, and as well as indistinctive status of photography in both institution and personal lives”, said Gwen Lee, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of SIPF and DECK.

Refine by Phisut Nuthong, 5th Singapore International Photography Festival 2016 Open Call Artist

The Festival Exhibitions & Programmes

Running from 19 August to 13 November 2016, more than 1,200 photographic works by 58 artists from 19 countries will be displayed in six exhibitions. The festival also features educational programmes for the public, industry professionals and students.

The festival boasts several firsts – works by three renowned photographers exhibiting for the first time in Southeast Asia and a showcase at six MRT stations along the Downtown Line.

A room with a view

The festival kicks off with the winning proposal for the inaugural Curatorial Project Showcase. Titled A room with a view, the exhibition is curated by Carol Chow Pui Ha, lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communications, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This project, with works by six women artists, was selected by the jury of SIPF from amongst 15 entries from six countries and will be shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts.

Hong Kong Stories by Yvonne Lo Yuen Man, A Room With A View Photographer.

Southeast Asian Debut

Exhibiting their works for the first time in Southeast Asia in separate exhibitions, are critically acclaimed photographers: Daido Moriyama, the prolific “father of street photography”, Li Zhensheng, a photojournalist renowned for his photographic records of the Cultural Revolution, and Roger Ballen, whose award-winning works tread the line between fantasy and reality in ‘documentary fiction’.

The compelling, thought-provoking works will be shown at The Arts House Singapore for Li Zhensheng, DECK for Daido Moriyama and Gillman Barracks for Roger Ballen. Daido Moriyama’s Southeast Asia debut exhibition will include never-before-seen works from the series, Hunter, taken in 1972.

Open Call Showcase

The staple of the SIPF is the Open Call Showcase, a springboard from which lesser known photographers are given the opportunity to present their works. Some 584 entries were received from 48 countries, and a final shortlist of 40 artists from 18 countries will exhibit 394 works.

The Open Call Showcase will take place, for the first time, in six MRT stations where 26 artists and 240 works will be featured; at Alliance Française de Singapour with 10 artists and 140 works; and at the National Library Building with 4 artists and 50 works. In partnership with the Land Transport Authority and Moove Media, the Open Call Showcase will be displayed at MRT stations along the Downtown Line, running across the arts, heritage and design district from Bugis, Rochor, Little India to Newton, Botanic Gardens and Beauty World.


The 5th Singapore International Photography Festival takes place from 19 August to 13 November 2016.

Festival passes can be purchased at S$50 from this link or from the festival office, DECK. Concession passes for students, NSFs and senior citizens are available for purchase at DECK for S$35.


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