| Singpore | 27 Oct 2016 | Asia Samachar |
By Amritpal Singh
Gurjeevaan Singh’s friends and family had gathered to celebrate his inaugural photography exhibition. It was a cosy affair in the quiet Singapore neighbourhood of Potong Pasir.
The evening started with Gurjeevaan’s elder sister, Gursharan Kaur, giving an introduction to their cousin sisters, Simarpreet Kaur with a violin and Karamvir Kaur with a dilruba, who played a beautiful piece of music. The audience were entranced and gave them a rousing round of applause.
Gurjeevaan then gave a speech that pulled many heartstrings. The exhibition’s title, which was also on the Facebook event page’s event poster, was titled “Chup Kar Kay Beth Jaa“ (Shut Up and Sit Down), a phrase that had been used by his grandmother repeatedly to discipline young Gurjeevaan.
He shared with the crowd stories of his childhood where his 80-year old grandmother Gurdip Kaur played a significant role in his upbringing.
She was a strict lady who never spared the slap! He found it difficult to be close to her over the years and took a long while to understand how she showed her love. He eventually realised that she did so in her cooking where she made food with love and passion, and always made sure that there was something to eat when he was home.
He also shared stories of his recent trip to India where he spent some time with his grandmother who went there earlier, and was overjoyed when she greeted him at the airport with a big warm hug!
Gurjeevaan wasn’t done for the night though. He also had a video prepared and the audience closed in to watch a short montage that had highlights of his trip to India as well messages of love from his mum, uncle and aunts to his grandmother. By the end of the video it was clear that he had touched his grandmother greatly as she pulled out her handkerchief to dab at her eyes.
It was then time for everyone to see his work. With a loud Jaikara Gurjeevaan pushed open the door into the exhibition room and led his grandmother and family in to look at the photographs.
Gurjeevaan spent the night sharing stories, history and Punjabi customs to people who came from all races, religions and walks of life. The evening was an amazing multimedia experience that showed the great potential of young Gurjeevaan’s perseverance to hone and share his craft.
AN INTERVIEW WITH GURJEEVAN SINGH:
What got you started in photography?
My sister aka, ‘The Sleepy Creator’ was the first in my family to dabble with photography. I was amazed by her skills and how she was able to capture and portray emotions in her pictures. Years later, I gave it a go myself and didn’t do a good job initially. I did not understand why the pictures I took came out bland. But for some reason, I really loved taking pictures and I put in more effort. I honed my craft and here I am today with my first exhibition! I am presently pursuing a diploma in film making and would like to have a career as a film maker.
What inspired this exhibition?
I just wanted to show and tell my family what it was like living in the village with my grandmother and her family in India. My grandmother spends a few months each year in India when the weather is cooler. In June this year, I was free, so I made a trip and spent some time with her and travelled around a bit. I was intrigued to understand and share with everyone why she does things a certain way when she returns to Singapore because of the experiences she has had. I also got to see her in her element while visiting her which was better than hearing second hand when she comes back to Singapore to tell us her stories. The trip and the time spent with her inspired me to tell stories about her through the pictures and videos in today’s exhibition.
A friend of mine, Ms Tan Wan Lin, who runs this place called House of Music, which is a hub for creative music production, had seen my work before. When she saw the pictures I had taken in India, she insisted that I do a showcase. At first I didn’t think much about it but she kept encouraging me and offered her studio for me to hold this exhibition. Eventually I agreed and here we are!
What difficulties did you face in preparing for this exhibition?
As it’s my first time creating a photography exhibition, I faced many challenges. Even when it came to editing photos, I only knew how to crop photographs. I spent a lot of time watching Youtube videos and experimenting with editing techniques and was finally able to prepare the photographs we have today.
I also had a lot of help from friends and family to decorate the venue, prepare some of the food we served, perform with musical instruments and handle all the logistics involved. It was great to see all of them chipping in and I really appreciate their coming together for this event.
Will we see more exhibitions from you in future?
Yes. I am planning my next exhibition! It will be about people in Asia. As we are all from one big continent, I would like to show the stories from the different cultures and history that we all share.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to have a go at their own exhibition?
Just start something. Be it in your home, your friend’s place or anywhere. It is important to keep improving yourself and opportunities will present themselves. When you do great work, people will come.
NEXT Exhibtion: 28 Oct 2016 (Fri), 7pm. More information at Facebook page: House of Music Singapore
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