Back to listJun 28, 2012

Photo Exhibition "Coming of Age: Forgotten Faces of a Greying Asia" Shown in Malaysia

photo exhibitionThe "Coming of Age" exhibition

Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) and the Photographic Society of Malaysia  organized an exhibition of works by renowned Singaporean photographer David Tay Poey Cher, titled "Coming of Age: Forgotten Faces of a Greying Asia," based on his recent book of the same title, from June 9-28 at SGM's Wisma Kebudayaan center in Kuala Lumpur. The event was supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore. Total visitors exceeded 3,000.

Following the exhibition's opening ceremony, Mr. Tay gave a talk in which he explained that the subjects of these photographs are of older people whom he met on his travels throughout Asia in 2009 and 2010. Through heart-to-heart dialogue with his subjects, many of whom live in developing countries, he hopes to highlight the issue of aging, particularly in Asia, where the older population is increasing dramatically. He wishes to convey the beauty and dignity of aging, showing that true happiness is not dependent upon one's age or physical circumstances. Many of his subjects embody a strong, resilient life-force, despite living in harsh environments. 

Mr. TayMr. Tay (left) giving a speech at SGM's Wisma Kebudayaan center

A photo workshop by SGM youth also took place on June 16, in conjunction with the exhibition. The 15 participants tried to get close to David Tay's way of approaching photography, which involves "No stealing photos"--in other words, the photographer should engage the subject in dialogue. They spent 5 hours taking photos using this new approach, learning to listen to and interact with their subjects, then returned to Wisma Kebudayaan to share experiences and view the exhibition.

Coming of AgeThe photo book Coming of Age

This exhibition also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the SGM Golden Age group which comprise members above the age of 60. Many of these members said they were greatly moved by the photographs and some renewed their determination to live the remaining years of their life to the fullest, undefeated by challenges. 

Students of the Malaysia Soka Kindergarten (Tadika Seri Soka) also visited the exhibition where they learned the importance of treasuring and caring for older people.

Mr. Tay is the president of the Photographic Society of Malaysia. He is the first Asian ever to be elected Directory Board Member of the Federation Internationale De L'art Photographique and has received numerous awards including Singapore's Cultural Medallion and The Royal Photographic Society's Fellowship. He has met with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda on three occasions.

An interview with David Tay about the exhibition can be viewed on The Star Online

[Adapted from a report from Soka Gakkai Malaysia; photos courtesy of David Tay Poey Cher]