‘Meeting my Great Grandparents for the first time’ by Amrita Chandradas

Photograph on original mount

My grandfather and gradmother posing in between my maternal great grandparents. The couple on the right are Indian Perankans (Chitty Melaka), Chinese girl seated on carpet is the couple’s adopted daughter. c. 1920s.

“I first “met” my Great Grand-Attha (uncle) through a photograph I found whilst rummaging through my old things in my room when i went back to Singapore last month. (I live in London now) The search for photographs of my family was not intentionally (although in retrospect, I remember Daphne calling me all the way from London to tell me about her new project).

When i found this photograph, my gaze was immediately directly to my Attha. Looking at her for the first time and finally finding out how she looks like was an extremely surreal experience.

I never knew much about her life or the paternal side of my family as my Grandad passed away at a really young age. Discovering that she was one of the few ladies to be educated at that time (which was considered to be really rare) made me really proud of her. Though I could never have to chance to meet her in person, I think it is amazing that I have got to know a little bit about her and my great grand uncle  through photography, (my great granduncle is seated in the middle).

“Photography is beautiful, time comes to a standstill for that precise moment. Document your family members, its really important. This has prompted me to document my family so that my children and the future generation will have something tangible to hold on to.”

Nandri Kaduvale!

Amrita Chandradas, 29 September 2013, 5pm

Author’s notes: Here’s an impromptu video ‘interview’ we did today, of which Amrita obliged to do so willingly, thank you! We have been friends  many years, since the Goodman Road days of LASALLE. Thank you Amrita, for your spontaneity and enthusiasm.

"Meeting" my Great Grand Attha for the first time.

Amrita is also a prolific photographer who recently graduated from London College of Communications with an MA in photojournalism. She is exhibiting her work now at the LCC campus. Her work ‘6.9‘ addresses the impact of growing population in Singapore on those live in spaces that do not conform with Singapore’s prescribed norm. ‘6.9‘ features a publication of several photo documentaries and interviews with undertakers, cemetery guardians, construction workers and residents of Singapore’s last kampung. Click here for details of the show.

Amrita’s website (photography portfolio)

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