Publication: Family Intimacies | Anderson & Low

Foreword | Ahmad Mashadi | Head, NUS Museum
Curatorial: “Unpacking the Family Tree”| Nurul Huda B. A. Rashid | Assistant Curator
Essay: “A Journey towards Family Intimacy” | Edwin Low of Anderson & Low

The exhibition, Family Intimacies, by photographers Anderson & Low is a visual documentation of Edwin Low’s global family. Born to parents who migrated from China to Malaysia in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and leaving home during his teens to further his education in the U.K., this project is a reflection of Low’s ‘wish to establish a connection with his family’, now spread across different continents.  Initiated after the death of Low’s father, the project, whilst serving as a tribute to the Low family, also brings to light themes of memory, place, and identity. Using photography as the main medium of discourse, this exhibition features contemporary family portraits – captured within different homes – alongside old black-and-white photographs taken by Low’s father, each telling different, often poignant, stories of the family across time, space, and memory. Says Low, ‘Really, as we think about it, there is no beginning to this project, and there will be no end. What you see here is just one snapshot from one perspective, one view that will change with time. Ask any other of the 120 relatives of my family and their views and memories will be different.’ In mapping out the Low family tree, Family Intimacies will feature personal and conceptual facets of what make up our idea of the family, both in the present and in the remembering.

Curator, Nurul Huda, elaborates: “[It is] important to realise that in putting together an exhibition on a family tree, the issue of loss and absence has to be recognised. When looking through any family album, there are always people who cannot be identified or rather, can only be identified by parents or grandparents […] They are nonetheless ‘family’. […] Juxtaposing the different media of archival photographs, new portraitures and a reflection essay by Low about his journey of regrouping the family, Family Intimacies presents to the audience a family tree not in its perfect form – for none is – but as one embracing its stories, memories, and especially absence. Family Intimacies articulates the dynamics of this ever-evolving idea of the family as one that is neither rooted in the past, present, nor future, as it is a free-floating concept with stories that change with each narrator, site and spectator.’

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