Photographer Bob Lee’s photo exhibition, Finding What’s Next, is an intimate and important look at autistic youth who have left the santuary of education. Through portraits of 12 young individuals with autism, Mr Lee explores the future and how individuals and their families struggle without a national support system. The exhibit is also bolstered by stories produced by Lim Hwee Hwee and Sun Meilan.
The photos are dynamic, personal and often moving – in Mr Lee’s portrayal of 20-year-old Marcus who requires constant movement, there are touching pictures of Marcus and his father involved in activities together. Many of the individuals are also depicted at work – showing how purpose and routine can help. Alongside the photos, personal effects like notebooks or artwork are sometimes displayed.
Mr Lee not only worked on taking the photos but also came up with the overall look of the exhibition – with dark-blue painted walls and mood lighting to make the photographs pop. He even closely monitored the set-up of the exhibition, saying, “I was there every day during the set-up and the installation guy thought I was a contractor!”
Perhaps most essential is what we do *after* viewing the exhibition. In the video playing alongside the exhibit, Mr Lee explains why he created Finding What’s Next – not only does he want to urge family members of autistic youth to plan ahead so that they are able to support special needs family member in the future but also, crucially, raise awareness among neighbours and community members so that we can care, and take action.
Finding What’s Next is open all day at the Esplanade tunnel until 4 July 2021.