TATINIS ART SHOW 2019:
HOPE. PEACE. LOVE
A REVIEW BY NEO HUI-LIN & TERESA CHIA
With its desire to make its mark as a global hub of art and culture, art fairs are crucial to Singapore's blooming art market, allowing both emerging and established artists to showcase their works, and for the general public to access them. Since art fairs are the staple of the local art market that connects Singapore to global audiences, then the Tatinis Art Show 2019: Hope. Peace. Love, with representatives of 20 countries from South America to Europe and Asia, can be said to be a valuable platform for its exhibitors. Despite its humble beginnings as an online art marketplace founded by CEO Ruby Gupte which still operates today, the Tatinis Art Show has now triumphantly returned to our sunny shores since its successful run in Helsinki in 2018. This year's event took place on 24-26 May at the F1 Pit Building's Paddock Club 6, attracting a crowd of 3000 and selling over 100 works of art. Hosting a total of 28 individual artists and 10 galleries, the aim of Tatinis remains the same: to make quality art affordable for all.
This year's art show, however, is a little different. Aside from it as an organic space for networking and sales, the fair lives up to its title of "Hope. Peace. Love." by initiating social outreaches. In addition to the Kid's Art Party which aims to introduce children to art and encourage them to foster their creativity, this year's show also hosted the Fashion Meets Art runway show, featuring artists with disabilities, and The Sama Sama Project by Mimi Liu, which sheds light on the plight of migrant workers in Singapore. In this installation, Liu has gotten migrant workers to pen their thoughts in white paint on slabs of resin, forcing viewers to take a closer look to read the words and understand them, reflecting how migrant workers like nearly invisible in our society, glimpsed at but never seen, heard but never listened to. Other pieces of resin encompass a photograph of a migrant worker holding up his quote like as if in a mugshot, which ties in with the tedious hours, poor conditions and lack of access to services such as healthcare workers like him toil in, almost prison-like in nature. By giving the workers a voice in such a space – pristine, bourgeoise, Liu not only seeks empathy from those who marginalize these workers, but also challenges if they can be seen as fine art, and if they are only worthy of respect if their stories are displayed far away from their reality.
The ever-improving quality of the art scene since the turn of the century has delivered a substantial increase in the production of high-calibre artworks. This year's edition of the Tatinis Art Show is also studded with exceptional artworks by artists who deserve notable mentions for their exceptional display of skills and passion for their craft.
For Singapore-based French artist Sandrine Capdouze, art is from the heart – and her misty oil paintings can probably testify for her beliefs. They are calming canvases inspired by landscapes of her home country and celebrated artist William Turner, whose influence is evident in the romantic pastels and well-blended brushwork. Her muted hues, mostly dappled smoothly across the work, are interrupted by harsher scrapes and scratches of paint in the middle of the piece which simultaneously break and add depth to the dreamscape. One almost sees vague cityscapes in these breaks; skylines scarcely visible in the fog. What the viewer sees ultimately, however, is not really there: all they really are are drips and drabs of paint – all part of Capdouze's intentions. Her works' charm, according to her, lies in how she wants her viewer's 'imagination to do the rest', so no two interpretations are exactly alike, and the concept comes full circle: her artworks come from her soul, and are perceived by the viewer's, making the semi-abstract paintings more magical than they already look in all their almost other-worldly glory.
On the other end of the spectrum, Singapore born-and-bred artist Melissa Teo boasts stylised renditions of old local architecture, such as shophouses of the Chinatown alcove, in daring black lines and flashes of vivid colours to create a 'bold and vibrant look' – a homage to Eastern masters such as Wu Guanzhong. Each piece is a balancing act in aesthetics, from both the choice of hues and tones to the fluctuating line weights. On top of that, the works are a series of contradictions within themselves: besides the themes of past and present, nature and urban architecture, her rendition is equal measures colourful pop art and traditional Chinese painting with their inky, gestural strokes. Thus, Teo's art breathes life into places forgotten, invoking visuals of both old newsprint and glossy magazines, mirroring Singapore's identity as a mix of heritage and modernity. Besides historical scenes, her lively colours also translate into paintings featuring wildlife. Teo's semi-surrealistic and semi-graphic works, like Owl Love, have even been made into scarves so patrons can add a masterpiece to their wardrobes.
Just across Teo's space is Rooma Panchmatia’s, a Singapore medical lecturer and self-taught artist whose works are a flurry of sand and sea, peppered with rocks, shells, and tiny model turtles. Her bright, positive colours bring to the viewer's mind tranquil tropical vibes and the Maldives. Her works explore an interesting mix of high gloss, layering, and 3D techniques that embody the recent hype with the emergence of drone photography, thus exuding a sense of calm and relief. At the Tatini’s Art Fair, Rooma was able to connect to her audience and felt that she “owes it to the viewers for creating an absolutely fascinating piece of art in exchange for their moment of attention and of course, the satisfaction that many of them choose to bring the paintings home to adorn their walls.”.
Artist Rooma Panchmatia
120cm × 61cm
Mixed media on canvas
Mixed media on canvas
Once upon a Tide
91.5cm × 61cm
Mixed media on canvas
Tista Art Gallery
Tista Art Gallery, yet another local representative, features the works of 18 artists such as Priyanka Bhandari and gallery owners cum artists Megha and Sonal Mathur. When queried about the quality of the art fair this year, the gallerists duo proclaimed that they, along with their band of artists, have thoroughly enjoyed the “liveliness and inspiring” atmosphere of the art fair.Bhandari's works are created by connecting with her soul and spirituality is being is shown through her paintings of the Buddha. “Art is connected with the heart. So I do what I feel and I do when I am happy because the heart should be pure from the inside.”. Her enthusiasm to showcase her works and Tatinis triumph is evident in how she decribes this fair as “beyond success” and states that she would do a feature with Tatini anytime. Knowing the organiser personally, Tista Art Gallery is looking forward to collaborate with the organiser in the near future.
Evart Gallery has also taken part in this art fair and showcased works from many of their resident artists, one of whom is Gee MIchaud. Gee exhibited contemporary pieces that reflect her love and passion for homely, community-spirited places. especially warm cafes and shophouse eateries. Evart gallery is enthusiastic in showcasing their artists works and feel that art fairs like this is an optimal avenue for publicity and exposure.
Commonspace Gallery took a refreshing wildcard approach to the fair – they did not adhere to a specific theme, and instead featured the best works from their various artists, so long as the works complemented one another. The gallery has an eclectic mix of local and international artists who hail from Singapore, India, and even a New-York-based Taiwanese artist. Their large range of international artists results in a variety of truly individual mixes of both cultural and modern visuals and concepts. Two artists featured in this gallery are Aparna Patil and Lisa Wong. Aparna’s works are dreamy, almost romantic and fares well with a pastel colour scheme, while Lisa works with more graphic concepts and bolder colours.
The 2019 instalment of the Tatinis Art Show was certainly abuzz with activities, with Ruby Gupte triumphantly declaring that there the turnout was excellent, and that the “average selling price (of artworks) increased”. With more artists managing to make sales, it is all good news for the local art scene. As for future editions of the Tatinis Art Show, Gupte has her sights set on Finland in late August this year, before a return to Singapore in 2020, and two more in Finland again, and Sweden thereafter. She also plans to expand the fair to other parts of the world beyond the Nordic region and Singapore, though there is no particular counrty in mind as of now – all exciting stuff not to be missed for art lovers everywhere.
Update yourself with the Tatinis calendar of events here: https://tatinis.com/