Articles

AFFORDABLE ART FAIR SINGAPORE 2019

A review by Hafizan Asri & Ryan Mario

Affordable Art Fair Singapore celebrates its monumental 10th edition from 22nd to 24th November 2019 at its usual haunt in the F1 Pit Building. Remaining as part of a wider international effort to not only expose the masses to artists and their artworks, the AAF also adapts itself to actively engage in the art of art collecting. Battersea Park, London, bore witness to the first AAF in October 1999, and since then, the brand has been infectious in its artistic initiatives throughout the world.

Staying true to its name, 70% of artworks presented at the Affordable Art Fair Singapore comes with price tags below SG$7,500 and none breached the SG$15,000 mark. This instalment of the AAF Singapore had 83 galleries displaying SG$44 million worth of art which welcomed 13,000 visitors through the doors. Raking in about SG$3.4 million from 1,200 pieces of artworks sold, the figure scorched the grand total of the decade’s local sales well past the SG$45 million mark.

Joining Camilla Hewitson, who led the team that debuted AAF Singapore back in 2009, is Stephanie Kelly. With Camilla assuming the role of Non-Executive Director from January 2020 and Stephanie as newly appointed

Furthering its efforts to create a healthy art ecosystem in Singapore for businesses, new artists made up 35% of the fair’s artists this year.

Asia Pacific Regional Managing Director, AAF Singapore is well-positioned to address future challenges.

AAF Singapore 2019 witnessed a greater push in showcasing local artists, which make up 30% of exhibitors. The remaining 47% and 23% of exhibitors were composed from the rest of Asia and the world respectively. Furthering its efforts to create a healthy art eco-system in Singapore for

businesses, new artists made up 35% of the fair’s artists this year. In one way AAF Singapore has made significant achievements in this vein is through the Young Talent Programme (YTP) jointly hosted by AAF and ION Art through the support of Hotel Jen.

YOUNG TALENT PROGRAMME

Since its inception 8 years ago, the YTP has been directed at honing the talent and potential of young artists selected from a pool of applicants age 18 to 35-years-old who live or are born in Southeast Asia. “As a programme, we tend to not take new directions,” insists programme curator Seah Tzi-Yan when asked about the development of the programme through the years. She further elaborates that these individuals are monitored on their experiences, craftsmanship, and thought processes throughout the course.

YTP 2019 showcased 7 fledgling artists, bringing the total number of selected talents to 60 since its debut back in 2012. All 7 artists had their works showcased during the recently concluded Affordable Art Fair 2019 and up to 3 out of the 7 artists will see their YTP journey culminating with a solo exhibition in August/September 2020. ION Art will play host to the solo exhibition, as its done for all the previous aptly named Winners’ Solo Exhibitions. Art Herald had the privilege of speaking with 3 of the 7 young talents and had an eventful conversation about their style, artistic influences and more.

ZESTRO LEOW

Time Paradox

15cm × 15cm × 29cm

Automotive paint on ceramic

2019

As an extension from his graduation work in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Zestro reimagined the concepts of Japanese Shinto shrines as spacecraft that encase, in place of spirits, his essence as an artist escaping from the mundane. Complete with automotive paint, the ceramic pieces take on an investigative yet personal approach into the nature of human belief.

LOUISA VIOLET

Pandemonium 5

56cm × 84cm

Photography

2019

Louisa’s three-dimensional approach towards her series, Pandemonium, is a reflection of the artist’s tumultuous existential state through her hybridisation of photography, sculpture, and performing arts. With absolutely no anticipation on the lead- up towards the final outcome, the entire process is kept truly organic, just as how it should be within Louisa’s complex thoughts and emotions.

DAISY TOH

Unblued

3cm × 4cm × 5cm — 8cm × 9cm × 22cm

Porcelain & colour pigments

2018

Daisy’s ceramic pieces are the fusion of organic and geometric as she uses them to explore her transition and adaptability to find grounding within her discomforts. Through her meticulous and painstaking employment of the slip casting process, we are challenged with the idea of mass production whilst appreciating the personal touch factored into Daisy’s ceramic pieces.

"We look for diamonds in the rough"

- Ketan Samani, Founder of  Studio ID

Speaking to several galleries and artists, Art Herald was able to gather an immensely positive response of this year’s edition of the AAF Singapore. It remains demonstrative of the fair’s scrupulous efforts in every area to push forth for art appreciation from

all audiences, buyers, dealers, and visitors alike. First-time AAF gallery participant Studio ID stands on the same plane as the fair’s reiteration to promote emerging artists. Says Founder Ketan Samani, “We look for diamonds in the rough,” and Studio ID had 7 gems displaying works from Singapore, India, France, and South Korea.

Journey a Destination

Nidhi Samani

155cm × 155cm

Mixed media on canvas

AP Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Twins Angel

Priyanka Bhandari

40cm (diameter)

Acrylic on canvas

The AAF Singapore also saw a return from several galleries who rode on the wave of good sales in previous instalments of the fair. With its ten years of experience in the art market, AP Gallery, helmed by Director Tomy-Kim of South Korea, participates for the second time this year with artist Park Jinwoo’s series on childhood memories and Priyanka Bhandari’s nature series.

Affordable Art Fair Singapore’s director Alan Koh chimed in with a few words as we chewed

the fat on the progression of the AAF down the years. He underscores the significance of fostering relationships with all stakeholders of the brand. While he notes that business numbers and sales have been growing throughout, the AAF is not lax in developing programmes that are engaging to “supplement and compliment the galleries.” With this in mind, Alan concludes that down the line, AAF Singapore will further “anchor our vision to strengthen the Asian Market.”

Ploughing through the milestone of the Affordable Art Fair’s decade-long presence in the art market signifies a stride towards greater challenges ahead. Anticipate the brand’s return on 19th to 22nd November 2020 with its contribution to the sustainability of the creative ecosystem in the local art market.

Money Bag & Pop Grenade sculptures

by Sanuj Birla