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From June 29 to July 7, Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) and the Photographic Society of Malaysia organized an exhibition of works by Singaporean photographer Teo Bee Yen, titled "One Kiss of the Eternal--Social Documentary Photography" at SGM’s Wisma Kebudayaan center in Kuala Lumpur.
Shot in black and white, the subjects of Mr. Teo's photographs are people living in poverty in harsh environmental conditions across Asia. The exhibition sheds a human light on the Yi community, an ethnic minority living in the Da Liang Shan Mountains of Sichuan Province, China; the floating village communities and others living around Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia; the varied inhabitants of Kathmandu, Nepal; and the Bajau, a nomadic seafaring indigenous community in Sabah, Malaysia’s eastern state, on the island of Borneo.
Speaking at the exhibition's opening on June 30, Mr. Teo expressed his hope that the photographs on display bore witness to how hard people living in poverty struggle for survival, and the dignity with which they live.
Others attending the opening ceremony included High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore to Malaysia Ong Keng Yong, who opened the exhibition, President of the Photographic Society of Malaysia Harry Woo Hong Sang, Vice President of the Shanghai Foreign Culture Exchange Association Yue Mei Qin, and SGM General Director Koh Sia Feai.
Teo Bee Yen, who was himself born into poverty in China and first found work in Singapore as a laborer, has won numerous local and international awards, including honorary titles from the Royal Photographic Society and the Photographic Society of America. In 2004, he was awarded the Cultural Medallion, Singapore's highest cultural award. This exhibition is the third time Mr. Teo's works have been on display at the Wisma Kebudayaan.
[Adapted from an article on the Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) website; photos courtesy of SGM and Teo Bee Yen]
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