The Asian Civilisations Museum is presently home to celebrated American photojournalist Steve McCurry's first solo exhibition in Singapore. It captures these fleeting moments of life and living across Asia - from Afghanistan to Kashmir, from Cambodia to India. The exhibition shares its name with the hardcover title of a portfolio of beautifully stunning photographs by Steve.
The photo first made headlines after it appeared on the front cover of the National Geographic magazine in June 1985. Twenty four years later today, the image remains a conversation piece. Was it the 13-year-old's demeanour and piercing gaze that conveyed a sorrowful past, yet disarmed by a resolute fortitude for a brighter future? The orphan refugee whose image spread far and wide was a face without a name until January 2002, when she was tracked down in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan. Married to a baker, the mother of three owns the name Sharbat Gula (which Wikipedia states means 'Rose Sherbert' when translated from Pashto, an Indo-European language widely spoken in Afghanistan).
When I asked Steve if he ever tires of being known as the man behind the Afghan Girl, especially since he's taken countless more photographs just as or even more stunning and powerful, he replied, "I think if you're known at all, if you're remembered at all...better to be remembered for one photograph than (none at all). But I've published ten books and I do have people around the world who appreciate my other photographs, so I'm only grateful and humbled by the recognition and appreciation for my work in that particular photograph".
The Afghan Girl and other powerful photographs are now being exhibited at the Asian Civilisations Museum till 19th July at the Shaw Foundation Foyer (2nd floor). Admission is free.
(above: Here I am getting aquainted with Steve's other photographic masterpieces at The Unguarded Moment exhibition last weekend)