Room is a series of portrait, self-portraits and letters, exploring the turn from girlhood to womanhood.
I wanted to use photography as a means to explore what the definition of womanhood meant for those, like me, had found themselves as young adult women.
It seemed like we had somehow stumbled upon this status without knowing how we got here. I sought women from various backgrounds who gave me their own definitions. Some were defined by their religions or sexuality, while others were defined by their mothers or lovers.
I dressed them in their school uniforms, which are mandatory in the Singapore schooling system, and are visual representations of adolescence. I photographed them in their most private space, their bedroom. I then asked them to think about the turning point in their lives, and photographed them, before asking them to write a letter to their young, adolescent selves.
Feeling that much of how society defines women is by our physicality, I took self-portraits, each zeroing in on a particular body part. These body parts are undertones to their portraits, a way to look at the body and question what makes it interpreted as feminine, or not. I was interested in presenting more questions than asserting a definitive answer for the viewer. Perhaps that is just it, that the definitions are more muddled and confusing in our human reality, and that we each carve out a path on our own.
About the Artist
Charmaine Poh (b.1990, Singapore) is a Chinese-Singaporean artist and documentarian. Her work concerns memory, gender, youth, and solitude. Specifically, she is interested in the performance of self, and the multiple layers of identity we build.
She often works with the form of narrative portraiture. Focused on issues in Asia, her work has been recognised internationally.
IN OTHER IMAGE, WHEN WORDS FAIL
International Portfolio Showcase
National Library Plaza
05 Oct—30 Oct