PEOPLE – ALICIA NEO
This young photographer won the inaugural Young Talent Programme and was awarded a solo exhibition at Ion Art.
WHO ALECIA NEO
WHY SHE WON THE INAUGURAL YOUNG TALENT PROGRAMME AND WAS AWARDED A SOLO EXHIBITION AT ION ART
WHAT GETS HER OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING “KNOWING THAT I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO LIVE AND LEARN CREATIVELY.”
Even while Alecia Neo was a full-time photographer with a publishing firm, she continued working on personal projects. “I believe young photographers shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves creatively,” says the 27-year-old. Her efforts paid off with a win at the Young Talents Programme (a collaboration between Ion Art and the Affordable Art Fair).
People play a big role in both the editorial and artistic realms of Alecia’s photography, particularly how individuals reflect upon their identity. So, she was naturally drawn to a Chinese migrant named Mao Wen when she was doing an art residency in Biella (northern Italy) last year. “He moved to Italy in 1989 for a job, but when the Tiananmen Square protests started back home, he found himself stranded.” Intrigued by the way he creates homemade videos to express his own feelings of diaspora, Alecia began working with him to produce some of her own footage.
Her submission of a short film she shot with Mao Wen as the lead won the judges over with its poignancy, and she was granted a consultative programme. That helped her develop it into a three-week solo exhibition titled “Lessons From Mao”, comprising short films, photographs, and an artist book. “I hope it led visitors to explore their own reactions towards new immigrants,” she says. The exhibition has since ended.
Alecia currently juggles her assignments as a freelance commercial photographer with her personal art projects. “It’s great to be able to do that because it helps me breathe whenever either side becomes a little too much to handle,” she says. And the upside of being both an artist and photographer, she reveals, is that clients are more willing to let her interpret briefs in her own style.
inset “Lessons From Mao”, like most of Alecia’s works, evokes a sense of isolation and loneliness.