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Singapore exhibit showcases life in North Korea through AP photographer's lens

An exhibition in Singapore will highlight the work of Wong Maye-E, AP’s lead photographer in North Korea, offering glimpses of everyday life in the reclusive country.

North Korean school girls holding brooms bow to pay their respects toward a mural which shows the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung delivering a speech, before sweeping the area surrounding this mural on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, in Pyongyang, North Korea, one of over 70 photos that will be on display at Objectifs in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
North Korean school girls holding brooms bow to pay their respects toward a mural which shows the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung delivering a speech, before sweeping the area surrounding this mural on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, in Pyongyang, North Korea, one of over 70 photos that will be on display at Objectifs in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
In this photo taken Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, a North Korean bride and groom pose for a photograph at the Moranbong hill where they went to take wedding pictures, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The couple, Ri Ok Ran, 28 and Kang Sung Jin, 32, were married Saturday after dating for about two years. This is one of over 70 photos that will be on display at Objectifs in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
In this photo taken Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, a North Korean bride and groom pose for a photograph at the Moranbong hill where they went to take wedding pictures, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The couple, Ri Ok Ran, 28 and Kang Sung Jin, 32, were married Saturday after dating for about two years. This is one of over 70 photos that will be on display at Objectifs in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The show, "North of the DMZ," opens Sept. 13 at the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film. The nonprofit visual arts center will feature a variety of images, from state-sponsored parades to unscripted moments in North Koreans' daily lives.

Objectifs describes her work as "giving dimension to a carefully cultivated national image."

Working north of the Demilitarized Zone, Maye-E is tasked with documenting her surroundings despite rigid restrictions on journalists’ access.

In 2006, AP became the first Western news organization to open an office in Pyongyang. AP established a multiformat bureau in 2012.

"With patience, there are always opportunities to capture life in North Korea beyond what is presented to us," Maye-E said. "I look for unguarded moments in North Korea, where much of what we are able to see can be scripted and controlled. I hope my photographs will offer audiences a fresh glimpse of life North of the Demilitarized Zone."

Maye-E has taken photographs in North Korea since her first visit to the country in 2013, during the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. She subsequently was named AP's lead photographer in North Korea.

On display in "North of the DMZ" are over 70 photos taken during the past two years, which are also available in the AP Images archive.

Maye-E, based in Singapore, joined AP in 2003 on a freelance basis and has covered breaking news, politics, entertainment and sports, including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, political protests in Thailand and Hong Kong, and Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines.

"North of the DMZ" will remain on view through Oct. 15 at the Chapel Gallery, the premier space in Objectifs. Admission is free; Objectifs is located at 155 Middle Rd., Singapore. For further information, email info@objectifs.com.sg.


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