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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Miss Daphne Ang

BA (Open University), MA (SOAS)


Daphne Ang Ming Li
Miss Daphne Ang
Email address:
Thesis title:
Cosmopolitan Representations: Straits Chinese (Peranakans) and Image-making in Colonial and Postcolonial Singapore.
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


  • Early 19th century Photography
  • Photographic Film, Processes and Prints
  • Tracing genealogies through photographs
  • The Art and ethics of Collecting
  • Digital innovation in creating archives and image databases
  • Image making and Representation of self
  • Using new media in exhibiting the chemical image

PhD Research

The primary material addressed in this paper includes painted portraits and photographs in the late 19th to early 20th centuries in Singapore. They narrate the cultural fluorescence from approximately 1870s-1930s. This paper assesses the social motivations of commissioning portraits during this period within the Peranakan community. This paper will also shed light onto the commercial industry of image-making that involved artists, photographers and studios.

I am a visiting research fellows at the NUS Museum, working on an exhibition (opening end 2013) on Straits Chinese Portraits,

This exhibition will also document the transition from oil and watercolour portraits into studio photography in context of the social climate of Singapore and the Straits Settlements at the turn of the twentieth century.

This study also charts the cultural revival of the pictorial representation of the Peranakans in contemporary Singapore; evolving from ‘pictorial chronicles’ to archival material, art and emblems of cultural identity.

As colonial Singapore cannot be talked about separate from the Straits Settlements, and other colonies. I will be using images from other colonial constructions, with references to Malaya and Indonesia. However, nominating Singapore as a locus and geographical point of reference.

This is also the very first study done on the history of Peranakn Portraiture and is also the first to document Peranakan photography, a subject that has never been researched or written on before.

PhD Conferences

  • The Postgraduate Symposium in History of Art and Visual Culture (UCL) University College London
  • South and Southeast Asia A&A Research Seminar, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), 16 May 2012
  • Presenting a paper at the 26th International Baba Nyonya Convention 2013, Kuala Lumpur
  • Presenting a paper at the Royal Asiatic Society, London in February 2014.


  • Visiting Research Fellow at the (NUS) National University of Singapore Museum, working on an exhibition on Straits Chinese Portraits since late 2011
  • The Peranakan Museum (Asian Civilisations Museum): working on a project involving digital archiving of images
  • The Peranakan Association, Singapore