Singapore Idols – Army Boys

The Singapore Idols series of photographs celebrates the Everyman and common, everyday situations and environments in Singapore. In these works, photographer Jing Quek attempts to capture the spirit of the people who make up the 'face' and landscape of Singapore, presenting stylised collective portraits of distinctive communities in a way that challenges the viewer's perceptions or preconceived notions of these communities. The first of the three images presents a large group of National Servicemen posing in an outdoor training area in full military gear: camouflage uniforms, face paint and weaponry. They are seen striking confident poses in a highly stylised manner reminiscent of celebrities in magazines, and are captured in a closely arranged composition, perhaps signalling their close-knit bond and emphasising their solidarity with one another. Similarly, a group of domestic workers gaze directly, perhaps even challengingly, at the camera (and by extension, the viewer), while enacting a performance of various domestic tasks in the living room of a large house. In the third image, a group of senior citizens is also captured posing confidently at the void deck of a Housing Development Board block, intimating their strength and sense of solidarity with one another. Through the title of his series and these images which are styled like celebrity portraits, Jing Quek signals the values he ascribes to the oft-overlooked individuals featured in his work, in his attempt to address (and subvert) constructions of identity, stereotypes and communities, particularly within Singapore.

Artist Name
Jing Quek
Image size: 121 x 175 cm, Frame size: 125.0 x 176.0 cm
Accession No.
Digital Inkjet with Ultrachrome K3
Collection of
Singapore Art Museum