Purple Line. In the City.

If every inclusion implies an exclusion, then the photographs that map marginalised bodies and geographies in Benjamin Matchap’s ‘The Purple Line’ assert themselves as what they are not.

In challenging what we see and photograph as beautiful, the images re-articulate taken for granted assumptions of beauty of Singapore and Singaporeans.

In challenging what we see and photograph as beautiful, the images rearticulate taken for granted assumptions of beauty of Singapore and Singaporeans, said artist Benjamin Matchap.

“My inspiration behind this series were the movements of Afro punk and melanin beauty, and also the casting calls in Singapore that include “Chinese only” in their advertisements,” said Ben who is a full-time artist and freelance photographer.

“I was annoyed and frustrated because for all the talk about diversity in Singapore, we are still at the point of token representation when it comes to beauty standards here.”

Working within constraints that hamstring independent artists in Singapore, as well as the self-imposed ones of shooting within ten minutes of MRT stations along the Purple Line was not easy, he said.

“My plan was to challenge myself and not fall into the trap of only shooting at “Insta spots. Let’s face it, if you are only a few minutes away from an MRT station you usually want to rush to work or back home, making that location an interesting space of overlooked beauty that people usually just want to pass through.”

The Purple Line marks the second exhibition of Coda Culture, Singapore’s newest, ambitiously independent, artist-run space launched by Seelan Palay.

Nestled among quaint shop houses close to the heart of the city, Coda Culture saw its first solo exhibition and opening in January this year with Erica Chung’s ‘the Past is Not the Past.’

By the artists and for the artists, it seeks to continue to host and support more young, up and coming Singaporean talents.

Purple Line will open on the 24 February at 7pm and will be followed by the artist’s talk on 3 March at 7pm, before concluding on 4 March.

To keep up with Coda Culture’s shows do follow it’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/codaculturesg/

Have a view about this story? Write to us at: opinion@themonitor.sg

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