THE SOULS OF KAMPONG BHARU
Kampong Bharu has always intrigued Azul mainly because of his interest in old buildings. For this project, he set out to capture the people and their homes. However, having spent several weeks there talking to many locals and listening to some wonderful stories, his focus shifted. This series of photos is not only about the people of Kampong Bharu, the historical old Malay houses, the food (Kampong Bharu is renown as food haven), nor the unknown fate of its future. It is all of the above and more. It is a celebration of this lovely and unique enclave which turned out to be larger and offered far more than Azul initially imagined.
Azul's style of photo-collages is a nod to David Hockney. This format of the display is something he had experimented in the 1980s. The rationale for having several photographs joined together to form a larger picture is to show how ‘alive’ the people and places are. The photographs are purposely fixed unaligned to suggest movement and vibrancy. The use of collages also has another implication. It hints at, amidst the positive surface, the underlying fragility of the physical structures as well as people’s opinions when the issue of redevelopment arises again in the future.