SGXY (a play on the words “SG” and “sexy”) first came about from an amusing, but otherwise unassuming photo, by my friend Medha who posed with a white foam box and dubbed it the “Da Bao” (Chinese for “takeaway”) clutch.
A lot of talk on Singapore identity had been spurred on by the celebration of SG50 (Singapore’s 50th national birthday) in 2015. Do we have our own culture, or are we an inevitable mix being a nation of immigrants? Should Singlish be our language? Everyone seemed to have the same questions but few could offer definitive answers.
These events, both coincidences, gave birth to the SGXY project.
In this portrait series, objects are carefully selected to represent an aspect of Singapore identity, and many of them are often overlooked when it comes to serious debate. Some are shunned and easily dismissed as of little or no value, but I hope these photographs will challenge that notion by using these items as attractive fashion accessories that can be flaunted.
SGXY is not a finite answer to the question of Singapore identity. I believe identity doesn’t have to be one big, grand idea, but the sum of many unrelated quirks. Some of these quirks naturally include everyday, mundane items that we don’t pay much attention to. The series offers an alternate perspective – that whatever our identity may be, these quirks make Singapore culture sexy.
The items from left to right, top to bottom: