Instantly Involved
Debra Tan

Instantly Involved is not only an exhibition which showcases Debra’s works as a photographer but, through the exploration of the special bond between owners and their pets, a platform to raise awareness and money for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The project was conceived by Wei-Ling Gallery upon seeing Debra’s evocative portfolio of black and white photographs. Debra is reluctant to think of herself as a full-fledged photographer as she primarily uses photography to explore relationships and it is the relationships which interest her:–

“For me, photography is not about the camera but the subjects and their reaction to the context and to me. Through the lens, I am involved with them and them with me. Together, we are continuously moving and changing – nothing stays the same. Yet in an instant, the mood can be captured, frozen in a photograph and we are all instantly involved forever.”

Spurred on by Wei-Ling and Debra’s desire to give back to society, Instantly Involved was born with the objective of sustainable fund-raising through art. A year-long collaboration with 24 like-minded owners ensued, resulting in an intimate exhibit of 48 black and white prints and a limited edition 2006 wall calendar sponsored by ABN AMRO Bank featuring all the dogs and cats which have participated in this project.

Instantly Involved is Debra’s first solo exhibition. Apart from the owners and the sponsor who have been impressed with her work, Wei-Ling is confident that the show will be well-received – “the experience as you view the exhibition is like that of an unintentional voyeur who has just stumbled upon a private moment. You are treated to an intrusion which prompts you to wander into the minds of the owners and even those of the dogs and cats – How did their paths cross ? What is the bond ? What is their story ? You are left with just a taste, wanting more information but there is none – it is left to your imagination and before you know it, you are instantly involved.”

However, despite the uniqueness of each of these relationships, the underlying message is clear – cats and dogs are not just toys but a serious commitment. They are not just cute, they have feelings too. Established in 1958, the SPCA provides temporary shelter to unwanted animals – these are usually pets that are no longer desired by their owners. The SPCA receives more than 1,100 animals every month in Selangor alone, reaching some 13,000 annually. The shelter remains constantly challenged by a shortage of space and limited funds.

As such, Wei-Ling and Debra not only invite you to get involved as a voyeur but hope that you will be inspired by the photographs to become truly involved by buying the 2006 calendar. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go directly to the SPCA thanks to the generous sponsorship of ABN AMRO Bank.

The exhibition and calendar will open on Saturday, 26th November 2005 at Wei-Ling Gallery and will run until Friday, 9th December 2005.

The limited edition calendars will be sold at the SPCA and the gallery.

Debra Tan
Debra uses photography to explore relationships. Not surprisingly, her focus is environmental portraiture, which allows her to capture her subject in their natural surroundings. Her work is a combination of her views on her subjects and her interpretation of the subjects’ views of themselves. Her shoots are unstructured and her approach totally intuitive and perhaps because of this, her photographs are often described as expressive, spontaneous, natural, nostalgic – evocative. For the exhibition, Debra has gone totally digital from capture to print reflecting her studies in fine art digital printmaking in New York. This is Debra’s first solo exhibition.

As an international bank, we have more than 3,400 branches in over 60 countries worldwide. In Malaysia, where we have operated for more than a hundred years, we have branches in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Labuan providing a complete range of banking services primarily to corporates. Today, we are a leading issuer of bonds in both the domestic and overseas markets, and have a growing lending and trade finance business. Regionally, ABN AMRO is also a leading issuer of equity and equity-linked products and provides research on companies throughout Asia.

The aim of the SPCA is to protect defenseless animals and to alleviate their suffering. Established in 1958, the SPCA provides temporary shelter to unwanted animals. These include mainly cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs – usually pets that are no longer desired by their owners. From here, we try to re-home as many as possible but with more than 1,100 animals arriving every month in Selangor alone (reaching some 13,000 annually), the shelter is constantly challenged by a shortage of space and limited funds. We are a charity and do not receive any government assistance; we depend entirely on the generosity of the public.