PEOPLE – ALI­CIA NEO

This young pho­tog­ra­pher won the in­au­gu­ral Young Talent Pro­gramme and was awarded a solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Ion Art.

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - Contents - text MAVIS ANG pho­tos WIN­STON CHUANG & ALE­CIA NEO See more of Ale­cia’s works at www.ale­cia­neo.com.

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.

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