The expanded ‘Russel Wong in Kyoto’ exhibition is now at the Asian Civilisations Museum

37 new prints have been added to the collection, making a total of 79 pieces of display.

Alicia Ang

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Published: 30 November 2021, 12:33 PM

After a successful six-month stint earlier this year, the Russel Wong in Kyoto exhibition has returned to the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) by popular demand. 

Originally, the display was double-billed as the Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto exhibition and was on display from Apr 19 to Oct 17. Now, it’s being shown as a standalone display, with 37 new photos in addition to its original 42.

The 37 new photos display vignettes of Kyoto, as well as life and customs of geishas, who are known as geikos in the Kyoto dialect. This is part of Wong’s project to photograph Kyoto and its traditions.

The photos on display are a mix of black and white and vibrant colour images, to signify how Kyoto’s traditions often mix with its modern image.


A geiko with her teeth blackened. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSSEL WONG


One of these customs is ohaguro, a teeth blackening tradition to display coming of age for teenagers around age 15. Along with that there are snapshots of Kyoto’s culture, through prints of its seasons, food and tourism. 

There are also portraits of geiko Katsukiyo, Kyoto’s oldest geiko up until her passing in 2016.


Geiko Katsukiyo passed away at the age of 88, having served for over 40 years. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSSEL WONG


The expanded exhibition was launched on Nov 29, and will run until Apr 10. At the end of the exhibition, all 79 prints will be donated to the ACM. 

Admission to the exhibition is free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. More information can be found on the ACM’s website.

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