Zakaria Zainal makes meaning of the world through his photographs. Enticed by the visceral changes of a former monarchy’s transition to a federal republic in Nepal, he first picked up his camera. His first monograph, Our Gurkhas: Singapore Through Their Eyes is an anthology of portraits and anecdotes of the retired Singapore Gurkhas as they reminisce about life in the Lion City, from the 1950s till today. Subsequently, he co-wrote The Invisible Force: Singapore Gurkhas – a continuation of his fascination for the Singapore Gurkha diaspora.
Recently, with a team, he documented the living histories on people who once lived on the islands of southern Singapore titled Island Nation.
His photographs and stories have appeared in various publications both in Singapore and Asia. He graduated from the NTU’s School of Communication, where he also teaches campus journalism. While he continues making pictures, Zakaria has been moving away from traditional documentary work to photographing closer to home – or even closer to his heart.
- Video capture
From the 1960s on, residents of Singapore's idyllic southern islands were forced out of fishing villages and into high rises. A documentary finds many still grieving for their old way of life. Photo by Edwin Koo. Project produced by Zakaria Zainal.
Our Gurkhas is an anthology of portraits and anecdotes from the retired Singapore Gurkhas as they reminisce about life in the Lion City — from the 50s till today. This is a work in progress.
The Gurkhas, men from Nepal, serve in the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force. Established in 1949, the legacy of the Gurkha Contingent goes beyond the independence of Singapore.