Isabelle Lim (22 years old) was born with Nager syndrome, a very rare medical condition that mainly affects the development of the face, arms and hands. The condition has also affected her hearing and speech abilities and hence, she is profoundly deaf. But her medical condition has not deterred her from pursuing her dreams and enjoying a normal life. She completed her “N” levels and a certificate in accounting at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) before deciding to pursue photography at LASALLE College of the Arts, where she was an inaugural recipient of the Dare to Dream scholarship.
Isabelle’s former lecturer at LASALLE, photographer Mary-ann Teo, said, that “Isabelle’s photographic capability has been evident since she first entered LASALLE and there is no doubt that this is something she is inherently good at. She has her way of seeing the everyday and presents the everyday beautifully ambiguous through her photographs. Isabelle has a lot more potential than she realises.”
Isabelle’s aspiration is to be a photographer, capable of producing good quality work and being financially independent. She looks forward to travelling to see the world through her lens and to keep shooting and creating amazing work. Most of all, she aspires to continue being an inspiration to others, both the deaf and hearing. She shared that her disabilities have provided her with the opportunities to be more observant and intuitive as a photographer: “I can sense people’s laughter, joy and cheerlessness as I look into the lens and capture them.”
Isabelle has taken on various freelance photographic assignments for LASALLE, Young Women’s Leadership Connection, Central Community Development Council and Moove Media.
“See What I See” Exhibition
“See What I See” is Isabelle Lim’s first solo and self-curated exhibition. It presents selected photographs taken by Isabelle from 2014 to 2016 when she was a student pursuing the Diploma in Fine Arts (Art Photography) at LASALLE College of the Arts, where she was the inaugural recipient of the Dare to Dream scholarship. It also presents two videos produced as part of her course requirements.
Isabelle has selected works which connected with her personal experiences as a deaf person/photographer who has to trust her non-auditory instincts and perspectives as she focuses through the photographic lens.
From Dawn to Dusk (2014) reflects her love of street photography, capturing people everywhere she went. This series was selected for LASALLE’s Lost Conversations: Selected Works by Students from Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore exhibition in 2015.
The Same Same but Different (Brain and Eye) series (2015) touches on surgery, created by photographing machine parts and with Photoshop, to represent human organs in surgery. This is somewhat inspired by Isabelle’s own experience having undergone multiple surgeries.
Go Public (2015) is a series that was inspired by Michael Wolf’s photos of passengers on the trains of Tokyo. Isabelle tried bringing a sense of humour through the photos of her mother. Wolf’s photos also provided her with the inspiration for the Connection photobook.
Familiar yet Unfamiliar (2015) is a series about her personal study of the interplay between light and shadows within her home.
Nothing Lasts (collage, 2016), exhibited at the recent LASALLE Show exhibition, captures shop shutters at the recognisable multi-coloured Rochor Centre, built in 1977, which will soon be demolished to make way for the North-South Expressway. Each picture represents the sentiments and memories of the business community who had been there for many years.
Silent Shadows (2014) is Isabelle’s first short film, one with sounds she initially thought were simply too difficult to produce as she is deaf. It is accompanied with lyrics she wrote about the environmental sounds that a deaf person cannot hear. It was selected for LASALLE’s Moving Images & Sound (Video) exhibition, The Substation.
Nothing Lasts (film, 2016), also shown at the LASALLE Show exhibition, focuses on the doors of HDB apartments at the Rochor Centre, accompanied by an environmental sound recording. It shows how lively the Rochor Centre used to be and how that changed after the news of its demolishment became official, hence, the video ends with a blank frame and fading sounds.
Support from Enabling Village
Located at 20 Lengkok Bahru, the Enabling Village is a universally designed community space combining retail, lifestyle and training in an all-accessible public space, home to several social businesses. The Enabling Village enables persons with disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives through:
a) An information and Career Centre, which provides information and referral services for disability schemes, and employment support services;
b) The Academy, which houses a suite of training spaces and training opportunities to prepare persons with disabilities for employment across a range of industries;
c) Tech Able, which promotes the use of assistive technology (AT) to persons with disabilities, through its assessment and referral services, and an AT showcase.
d) Other facilities include an inclusive preschool, F&B and retail outlets, and community services that are accessible to persons with disabilities and the wider community.
Isabelle would like to thank the sponsors of the Dare To Dream scholarship, Ad Planet Group, Enabling Village, Chinta Manis and Carpenter & King; staff of LASALLE College of the Arts; family; friends; clients; and you, the guests, for your support at this exhibition.