Paik Yin Lim was born and raised in Malaysia where she’s inspired to take photographs to document her pursuits on transcendence and movement. She infuses writing and performance arts into photography, a concept that may be new to some people.
Her participation in the 12th edition of the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops yielded her latest work on self-portraiture. She is one of the few hand-picked participants in Asia who had the privilege to meet and share knowledge with world-renowned photographers. Her workshop output, called Metaphor, is a series of raw and powerful self-portraits inspired by the Cambodian dance “Apsara” and the Indonesian dance “Srimpi,” both of which take years of training to achieve their natural elegance and grace.
Paik Yin reveres the concept of space and the self in each of her performances, and Metaphor furthers this fact. By wrapping bandages around her torso, she had to work with highly restricted movements in her Butoh-inspired performance; the rigidness of motion reflects the transcension of being from the physical to the emotional, and then to the spiritual plane.
Delving further, Metaphor is an exercise on introspection expressed through the performance’s movements, rather fidgety sequences, and resulting images. Paik Yin admits that, in engaging in the two-day routine, she intends to explore the limits of her consciousness while bringing to light and eventually accepting parcels of her persona that have been relegated to denial and shame. In effect, she is reforging her ties with reality by articulating liberation and personal expansion.
The physical demands of Metaphor is part of the process and are considered avenues for her to enter a vulnerable state, which is a requisite to explore one’s limits. For Paik Yin, the greater challenge is the act of clarifying her intentions for the entirety of the project.
Metaphor was shown during the closing of the Angkor Photo, which was well received by the attendees. It came as a surprise to her how warm and welcoming the people were, as they are open to exchanges of ideas and opinions. Delighted by the festivities, Paik Yin Lim admitted, “photography mediates relationships, records what fascinates and verifies our existence with the world.”