Art Apart Fair: Supporting Local, Celebrating Diversity

PHOTO: Courtesy of Art Apart Fair | Photo from last year’s fair

This year’s fair, the largest ensemble of fresh & emerging Singaporean artists features 40 local artists and final-year NAFA students.

Hotel-based boutique art fair, Art Apart Fair returns with its 7th edition turning the spotlight on local artists, featuring 20 final-year students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The fair was held in its ‘home ground’ at PARKROYAL on Pickering from 22 to 24 January 2016 with an entry fee of $10.

Other participating artists hail from Iceland, Japan, Korea, America, France, Thailand, and Malaysia.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Art Apart Fair | Turnout from last year’s fair

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Art Apart Fair | Photo of last year’s fair

While ‘rival fairs’ like Art Stage and Singapore Contemporary Art Show the new kid on the block sought to excite visitors with its impressive assembly of artworks by emerging and established artists from the region and beyond, Art Apart Fair would have none of that.

Artworks from local and foreign artists were housed in hotel suites on the 14th floor; promising a good sky view, intimacy and allowing visitors to exercise their imagination on how these artworks would look like on the walls of their own homes.

While international artists and big names like Yayoi Kusama were also represented there, the highlight was without a doubt, on our local Singaporean artists. I was delighted to find emerging artists Andy Yang and Valerie Ng’s works on display. Visitors and art connoisseurs can find artworks priced anywhere from S$300 to $50,000 with the majority between S$2,000 to $3,000.

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Artworks by Andy Yang | Acrylic on Canvas

 

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Screengrab from valng.com | Rocks Water Marks 1, 2015 | Watercolour & Pencil on Paper 31 x 23 cm

What I love about this year’s Art Apart Fair was meeting the young artists from NAFA and seeing them in action. Members of the public can also support these budding artists by ‘adopting’ an artist through Art Apart Fair’s Adopt-an-Artist initiative. The initiative allows these Patrons of the Arts to financially support the budding Singaporean artists’ ventures into residencies, art exchange programmes, and other exhibition.

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Final-year NAFA diploma student Casey Tan sharing the inspiration behind his work with fair visitors

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Final-year NAFA diploma student Ang Kian Hoe doing an acrylic painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger live at the Art Apart Fair

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Final-year NAFA student Geraldine Lim doing an alla prima painting of the Capitol Theatre front

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Chiew Niing | Titled Big Girls Cry (2015), oil on board by final-year NAFA diploma student Chiew Niing

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(From left) Final-year NAFA diploma students Yang Xiao Yun, Geraldine Lim, Chiew Niing

Unlike the bigger art shows, hotel-based fair such as Art Apart Fair presents visitors with the rare opportunity to engage the local and international artists in longer dialogue and deeper conversations. I met Icelandic artist Sossa Björndottir from Iceland with whom I enjoyed a hearty conversation with and whose artwork I warmed up to. It is Björndottir’s first time (and first exhibition) in Singapore and she told me she loves our local cuisines.

Gifted with the palette knife, Björndottir paintings transports viewers into her world back in Iceland – the source of her inspiration. Partnering with Icelandic poet Anton Helgi Jonsson, Björndottir creates artworks that are both whimsical and tranquil. Learn more about Björndottir and her works here.

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Overall, I had a great time at Art Apart Fair. While you won’t find hundreds of top international galleries and artists represented here nor ‘showstopper’ artworks found in Art Stage et cetera, Art Apart Fair allows you to breathe, relax, and connect with these artworks at your own pace.

Perhaps even more supportive of the local arts scene than the anchor exhibition of Singapore Art Week, I like the idea that the head honcho, fair director Rosalind Lim decided to make this edition all about supporting and giving fresh and emerging local artists extra exposure to the commercial arts world. All these are invaluable to the artists’ development – which in turn improves the local arts scene in the long run.

I was also surprised that I would discover other international artists to which I will be an instant fan of – such as Sossa Björndottir and Suzume Uchida to name a few.

The not-so-good: What I didn’t really like about the fair was the presentation of the artworks. For many of the artists sharing a hotel suite, visibility was priority. As a result, one finds artworks on the beds, pillows, everywhere. While there is a space restrain, I do wish that there is tighter quality control on the part of the curatorial team to up the already-pleasant viewing experience at Art Apart Fair. The curatorial team can also afford to be more picky with their choice of artworks to be displayed at the fair.

Nevertheless, I would like to raise a toast to Rosalind and her amazing team for their dedication to the local arts scene but it seems that they have their hands full with the 1st edition of Art Apart Fair New York (Oct 2016) and 2nd edition of Art Apart Fair London (Oct 2017). Congratulations on breaking through to foreign markets, you guys deserve every credit and success. RW

Disclaimer: Reuel Writes attended the Art Apart Fair on media pass. However, Reuel Writes retains full editorial direction of this blog entry.

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