Where are we from? Where are we now? Where are we heading?
Photo © AMIR SHARIFF
As we begin a new year and enter a new decade, we would like to memorialise a vision of Kuala Lumpur with a new long term project called KL20X20.
The aim of KL20X20 is to celebrate all that has been achieved in the city and its inhabitants over the last decades in making Kuala Lumpur one of the most vibrant cities in SE Asia. Not least, the importance of the arts both grassroots and mainstream initiatives, have propelled the formation of many collaboratives and groups in creating new and interesting works. Within the photography circle, we feel that this has taken a backseat in recent years with mainly derivative works, and hence, we at KL-Ga aim to restore the role of photography to the forefront with KL20X20.
KUALA LUMPUR IN 2020
We have selected photographers from open call in January to each produce a project in the year 2020, with planned exhibitions and displays around the city in September. The photographic theme is guided by 'KL2020', as a milestone in our nation's history. The subject matter is entirely open to interpretation. We take the rough and the smooth of what has happened to the city. Despite the earlier strict movement restrictions and quarantine directives for the country most of the photographers have produced a photo project that is worthy of presenting to the public. We feel confident that they are visually stirring and the stories covered resonate with deeper meanings than the first cursory glance.
PHOTOGRAPHY IS COMMUNICATION
In our image-saturated world, we often only skim the surface of digital content that breezes through our personal screens daily by the hundreds or thousands. Photography, as a thoughtful craft, must be given more presence and visibility to be appreciated as a form of personal expression and artistry. KL20X20 aims to provide our selected photographers with a space to showcase their craft to a wider, discerning audience and in return, we ask for your support in their projects and we look forward to presenting their works to our followers soon!
The 20 photographers have been selected through an open call in February 2020. The selection process was overseen by the project founders Steven Lee and Nadirah Zakariya, who have chosen projects that explore personal space, the environment, identity, creative vision, portraiture amongst other narratives - close to the original brief as possible. We hope they are a celebration of good contemporary Malaysian photography in the new Millennium, with strong artistry of the craft at the same time, expressing individuality.
2018 Two Mountains Photo Project 3.0, ILHAM GALLERY, Kuala Lumpur
2018 PhotoSymposium Asia, KL Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
2017 PhotoSymposium Asia, KL Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
2017 Two Mountains Photo Project 2.0, Taisho University Gallery, Tokyo
2016 Focus Japan, Whitebox Gallery, PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur
2015 Creative Portrait Photography Workshop, Kuala Lumpur
2014 Two Mountains Photo Project, Whitebox Gallery, PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur
Steven V-L Lee
Steven Lee is the founder-director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards (KLPA). He is actively involved in international photography events as portfolio reviewer, mentor and workshop lead. He is currently a nominator for the World Press Photo 6X6 Global Talent Program and Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA).
Steven is also a photographer who began his career in fashion and portraiture, as well as travel documentary work in the early 2000s, and has self-published several books.
Born (1984) and raised in Malaysia, Nadirah Zakariya draws inspiration for her work through her non-specific geographical upbringing. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Nadirah received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.
Nadirah is an internationally published photographer with works in numerous publications such as Bloomberg News, The New York Times Magazine, NYLON, VICE, Dazed and Confused, Refinery29 and Vogue Italia.
Nadirah’s works have been exhibited in cities including New York, London, Paris, Milan and Kuala Lumpur. In 2011, Nadirah was invited to hold her first solo exhibition, “Daughters Ago” in New York, in 2016 a solo exhibition, “GIRLHOOD” at the Leica Gallery in Kuala Lumpur and her series “Fuji-San LoveLetters” was shown at Ilham Gallery in 2018. Other international group shows include “We See You, We Hear You” in London (2018), “I Am The Woman I Am” during PhotoVogue Festival in Milan (2018) and UnSmoke in Kuala Lumpur (2019)..
From Kuala Lumpur, Nurul Munirah Rohaizan is a self-taught photographer who discovered photography when she was a business student in Dublin, Ireland and is currently based in Kuala Lumpur as Project Manager for the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards. She is also part of the committee and contributor for KL-Ga.org and was the assistant curator to the MOCA Fest visual art team in conjunction with the World Islamic Economy Forum (WIEF) in 2015.