ST photo exhibition at National Museum eyes climate change, Covid-19

National Parks Board staff carrying out a bird survey at the Mandai mudflats on July 12, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Locusts ravaging a grazing area in Kenya in April 2020. Fuelled by unpredictable weather patterns, a locust plague up to 20 times larger than an earlier wave threatened to devastate parts of East Africa. PHOTO: LUIS TATO FOR THE WASHINGTON POST
Marion, who has metastatic cancer, embraces her son Ethan in the presence of Peyo, a horse used in animal-assisted therapy, at a palliative care unit in a hospital in Calais, France, on Nov 30, 2020. PHOTO: @JEREMY LEMPIN/DIVERGENCE

SINGAPORE - When confronted with a crisis, whether the Covid-19 pandemic, armed conflict, or climate change, humanity demonstrates its resilience in different ways.

In a Brazilian care facility, a "hug curtain" was developed to allow elderly patients to have the warmth of an embrace without the threat of a coronavirus infection.

In Israeli prisons, Palestinian detainees kept alive their hopes of raising families by smuggling semen to their wives in chocolate bars or pen tubes.

Singapore, a small island state vulnerable to sea level rise, is combining nature's gifts with human engineering to prevent its shorelines from being overwhelmed.

These are among the stories of grit - and humanity's refusal to be cowed by seemingly overwhelming challenges - that will be on display in a Straits Times photo exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore from Saturday (Jan 15).

Called Through The Lens, the exhibition showcases about 200 photographs and videos by local and international photojournalists.

Admission to the exhibition, which ends on Feb 6, is free.

ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of SPH Media Trust's English, Malay and Tamil Media Group, said the powerful visuals in the exhibition reflect the biggest stories of the day.

He added: "We want to share the images, and also delve deeper into what they signify through the various discussions with our audience. That will lead to greater awareness and understanding all round. It is one of the ways in which we aim to do more to connect with and engage our audiences."

The exhibition, which celebrates the best in visual and interactive journalism, comprises The Straits Times Photo exhibition and the World Press Photo exhibition.

The World Press Photo is an international competition that began in 1955, and is run by the World Press Photo Foundation, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Amsterdam.

It features 160 prize-winning photos from the non-profit organisation's annual competition.

This year's edition drew 74,470 entries from 4,315 photographers around the world.

The winning photograph was taken by Mr Mads Nissen, a photographer based in Denmark. His shot featured 85-year-old Rosa Luzia Lunardi being embraced through a "hug curtain" by nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza, at Viva Bem care home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug 5, 2020.

It was the first hug the elderly woman had received in five months, as carers had been ordered to keep physical contact with the vulnerable to an absolute minimum.

Madam Rosa Luzia Lunardi being embraced by nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza through a "hug curtain" at Viva Bem care home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug 5, 2020. PHOTO: MADS NISSEN/ POLITIKEN/ PANOS PICTURES

The Straits Times' exhibition features 32 images and 13 videos that explores the impact of climate change on Singapore. It also showcases how even a small country can do its part to tackle the crisis.

ST photo editor Stephanie Yeow said: "Climate change is a worldwide issue and we are not spared. Our photojournalists, like everyone else, have been grounded at home so there's no better time to take a closer look at our own backyard, to examine the topics that affect us."

The ST exhibition will take readers on a journey through Singapore's wild spaces, such as its mangroves, and highlight how these natural habitats can help protect the shorelines from sea-level rise.

At the same time, visitors will be able to see how Singapore is trying to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by tapping more renewable energy from the sun - even deploying solar panels on water bodies to overcome its land constraints.

Remote video URL

Executive photojournalist Mark Cheong, whose photographs on Singapore's coastlines will be featured in the display, said strong visuals play an important role in getting people's attention when it comes to climate change.

He added: "The challenge is translating a rather technical subject into something understandable for readers, and a good way to do so is to work closely with reporters to come up with features that highlight both impacts and solutions of climate change."

ST climate change editor David Fogarty said the aim of the news outlet's coverage on climate change is to make the topic resonate with as many people as possible, using multimedia tools.He added: "From pictures and videos to interactive and fun graphics to comics, we use many ways to reach out to our audiences. We also seek out top scientists and policymakers to explain the key issues on ST's highly rated Green Pulse podcast."

Through The Lens exhibition

When: This Saturday (Jan 15) to Feb 6

Where: National Museum of Singapore, Glass Atrium (Level 2) and The Canyon (Basement Level)

• 10am to 7pm, daily

• Admission is free

Organised by The Straits Times

Venue Supporter: National Museum of Singapore

Exhibition Partner: World Press Photo

Logistics Partner: Trinity Global Link

Outreach Partner: Singapore Press Club


Online talks and webinars

The art of communicating climate science

When: Next Wednesday (Jan 19), 12.30pm

Climate change is a topic riddled in jargon, and explaining its causes, impacts and solutions can be technical. But this does not mean that there is no room for creativity.

Hear from ST artists Lee Hup Kheng, Manny Francisco, Billy Ker and Bryandt Lyn on how they interpret climate science and policy through infographics, animations and cartoons; and how they do so in a way that will not compromise on accuracy.

ST environment correspondent Audrey Tan will moderate the session.

Sign up at this website by Jan 18, 6pm. Registration is free.

Connecting the green dots

When: Jan 26, 2.30pm

Climate change and nature are interconnected and a warming world is threatening the rich biodiversity around Singapore. Join Singapore environmental champions Melissa Low, Woo Qiyun and Kong Man Jing as they explain the links between climate and nature and the innovative and fun ways they reach out to people.

This session will be moderated by ST climate change editor David Fogarty.

Sign up here by Jan 25, 6pm. Registration is free

AskST@NLB: Zooming in on climate change

When: Jan 28, 7pm

The images of climate change can be disturbing, from floods to fires, storms to heatwaves. Singapore will not be left untouched and many people are fearful of the future. But there's hope in the fight against global warming.

ST climate change editor David Fogarty chats with ST photojournalists Mark Cheong and Lim Yaohui about their work on telling the climate change story through photographs and videos.

Catch the video on ST's Facebook page.

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