Online Archived Exhibition: LIFE IN SINGAPORE: Views from Migrant Workers

Poster: Life in Singapore

This exhibition, organized by Yong Han Poh, College ’20, was displayed in the Asian Centers’ Lounge, CGIS South, from January 23 to February 20, 2020.  It was sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Harvard University Asia Center, and the Mahindra Humanities Center. It was also supported by local migrant arts groups in Singapore, including the Migrant Workers Photography Festival and Migrant Writers of Singapore. 

Life in Singapore:

Views From Migrant Workers

More than a million migrant workers live in Singapore, laboring in various low-wage jobs as construction workers and domestic helpers. Some of these migrant workers are also involved in the arts: writing poems, performing stories, producing films, and making music.

This exhibit aims to showcase the vibrant migrant arts ecosystem in Singapore, a city that has both been produced by and produced waves of migration across time and space. The photos and poems presented here show us how some migrant worker artists interrogate questions of mobility, geography, and identity.

In curating this exhibit, we hope to ask: how might attention to “migrant worker arts” reveal fresh insights about the intersections between transnational labor flows, capitalism, and citizenship? To what extent are themes of home and belonging universal to all migrants? Does the “worker” label spotlight intersectional identities, or does it merely produce new erasures?

This exhibit is generously supported by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Harvard University Asia Center, and the Mahindra Humanities Center. It is also supported by local migrant arts groups in Singapore, including the Migrant Workers Photography Festival and Migrant Writers of Singapore.

Read poems from the exhibit here.

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