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People

text Mavis Ang photos Winston Chuang & Alecia Neo

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

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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.
See more of Alecia’s works at www.alecianeo.com.

inset “Lessons From
Mao”, like most of
Alecia’s works, evokes
a sense of isolation and
loneliness.