At 26, Sarah Choo Jing is one of the most decorated, young fine arts photographers in Singapore. Talent has its rewards. In just five years, she’s racked up accolades such as the prestigious Icon de Martell Cordon Bleu photography award, the Kwek Leng Joo Prize for Excellence in Still Photography, and the International Gold Award in the Fine Art Category at Px3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris.
But it’s not just about the glitz that the awards bring – they vindicate but, more importantly, draw attention to the personal and social dimensions of her work.
Choo says: “Solitude has become a significant issue in today’s society. This is ironic when contrasted against highly populated cities. How is it possible that, despite being surrounded by people, we are so much alone?”
Seen in this light, her works are often a combination of painting and photography (among other mediums) that possess a haunting and ephemeral quality.
In the same way that she attempts to address urban loneliness, Choo believes that for a similar questioning tack to happen for the local arts (for its betterment), a more holistic approach to arts education is required. It’s no lip service – Choo’s an art teacher at Nanyang Girls’ High School (it’s also where her studio’s located).
Having shown at the National Museum and Singapore Art Museum, as well as presented works with Vera Wijaya of Galerie Sogan & Art, Choo’s working on her next solo exhibition. To be held at Rosenfeld Porcini in London (the gallery also represents her there) later this year, she will be turning her attention to hotels as spaces that “pervade an enthralling sense of anonymity among the lone occupants”.
This story first appeared in Female’s January 2017 issue.