Saturday, 30 October 2010

By The Way - Make Way for Affordable Art

I stumbled into collecting art about 8 years ago when I walked past HaKaren Art Gallery in Tanglin Shopping Mall, and fell in love with a Fang Xiang painting in the window. I didn’t buy it then as I had never bought art before, and mulled and dreamed about it for almost a month before I finally went in on the Hub’s prompting and bought the piece. It’s a huge artwork over a metre on each side and now hangs in my living room; it still gives me the most pleasure of all the artworks I had subsequently bought over the years. That it has almost tripled in value is a side event; I bought it because I liked it.

Lessons in Nature by Fuad
from The Yellow Ribbon Project

I know there can be lots of snob appeal going on in buying art, but I just stick to those I like. Recently I went to the Yellow Ribbon Art Exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum and saw thoughtful and surprisingly good art by done some very talented inmates from the local prisons. I bought one that I liked a lot – Lessons in Nature which cost me only $475, all of which goes to a good cause. And it’s affordable, too. (You can still view and buy them online at

To me, art is like wine – all that matters is if you like it, and the snobby people can potter on their own way. If you ask me, I can’t understand some of those super-expensive contemporary Chinese art with chrome dogs with human heads, bright red thin men peeing, and sculptures of fat women with their boobs hanging out. It won’t give me pleasure, more likely nightmares….

The AAF in Amsterdam

Which brings me to Singapore (and Asia’s) first Affordable Art Fair (AAF) in 19-21 November – a fantastic event which brings art to people in an unpretentious, straight-forward way. Head down to the F1 Pit Building (1 Republic Boulevard) from 11am and drink in art for art’s sake. The AAF was created by London art dealer, Will Ramsay in 1999 and is now held annually in eight cities including New York, Amsterdam, Brussels and Sydney. Singapore joins in the fray this year, a skip ahead of Milan which rolls it out only in 2011.

Gallery: Villa del Arte  
Artist: Francoise Nielly
Title of Artwork: Nr 513

Gallery: Vue Privée
Artist: Alex MacLean

Title of Artwork: Phelps Dodge Large Open Pit Mine and Tailings 1, Bagdad, Arizona, USA (Cessna 172)

So what can you expect there? More than 60 galleries from around the world showcasing contemporary artworks ranging from painting, photography and sculpture to drawings and print works. Priced between $100 and $10,000, the bulk of it will be below $7,500, so bring your cheque books and sign away with abandon!

Gallery: Vue Privée
Artist: Yann Chatelin & Alexandre Dupeyron
Title of Artwork: Morocco – 1:17AM
Gallery: OVAS Art Gallery

Artist: Watasayamon Saenghiru
Title of Artwork: The Smile

No need to stick your nose in the air, you’ll get lots of other unpretentious activities like free printmaking demos, free talks by Sotheby’s Institute and even children’s workshops. Take it all in leisurely and stop by for food and drinks at the restaurant, wine bar and café. I will be there.

AAF Brussels
“The success of AAF has been built on debunking the myth that collecting art is only for the rich, its ability to reach out to people from all walks of life, in a new and engaging way,” said Camilla Hewitson, AAF Singapore’s Fair Director. “Most of us think that original art pieces are way beyond our reach, but the stunning success of AAF around the world has proved that this is not the case.” Hear hear!

Tix: Adults $10; Students and Seniors $7 (Pay by OCBC Credit and Debit Cards for a 20% discount off normal ticket prices)
-Ee Waun


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