Photography as an art form began emerging in Singapore after the end of the Second World War. By the 1950s, Singapore had its own crop of pioneering and aspiring photographers, among them the late Kouo Shang-Wei. Along with contemporaries Yip Cheong Fun and Lim Lee, Kouo captured long-lost sights and scenes of the island city between the 1950s and 1980s.
On display at the Donors Gallery are a number of his photographic works donated by his family, specifically those showing political events, the Singapore waterfront, prominent landmarks within what is today Raffles Place, and Samsui women.
Also displayed is “Pigeons by the Singapore River”, a photograph that won him the first prize in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA’s) Singapore Cityscape Today photo competition in 1984 and one of several Singapore River scenes captured by Kouo. In addition, one of Kouo’s cameras, a Zeiss Ikon, which was a gift from a friend, is also on display at the Gallery.