Popular Affordable Art Fair Returns to Singapore

The Young Talent Programme matures with special showcase from alumni
By Ilyda Chua

Joanne Pang, ‘Soft Plots’, Chinese ink, acrylic and marker on polycotton, 120 x 100cm. Image courtesy of Affordable Art Fair.

Joanne Pang, ‘Soft Plots’, Chinese ink, acrylic and marker on polycotton, 120 x 100cm. Image courtesy of Affordable Art Fair.

Affordable Art Fair (AAF), which first arrived in Singapore in 2010, will return to the F1 Pit Building from 16 to 18 November 2018. Featuring over 80 galleries, this edition will see a showcase of affordable and contemporary works from more than 600 local and international artists.

The fair, which aims to make art accessible to all, shows original artworks priced between SGD100 and SGD15,000, with 75% of the art offered at under SGD7,500. The relative affordability of the works displayed appeals to both first-time buyers and seasoned collectors alike, making it a popular contemporary art showcase in Singapore.

Commenting on the niche that AAF occupies in the art ecosystem, Fair Director Alan Koh says, “When we first entered the Singapore market, we realised that the local audience did not understand art or have interest in it, in many cases because they were intimidated. While we do offer works for the more experienced collector, Affordable Art Fair prides itself on educating and inspiring new audiences who don't know about art to learn about it.”

The Singapore fair has grown steadily over the past eight years, showcasing a total of 904 galleries, over 158,850 visitors and achieving total sales of over S$39.6 million. “Now almost a decade later, we are seeing that our visitors have evolved from only engaging with painting and sculpture to new mediums which are currently on an upward trend,” says Koh. “We feel this is a sign that the landscape is changing locally and feel proud that we have been an integral part of that development.”

This year’s edition will as usual feature a selection of works by winners of the 2018/2019 Young Talent Programme, an art mentorship programme now in its seventh edition. A joint initiative by the fair and ION Art, it aims to nurture and spotlight emerging Southeast Asian artists under 35 through mentoring programmes and exhibition opportunities.

Dezi Chui, ‘Nus Baba House Singapore 1970’, 2017, digital paint, 42 x 29.7cm. Image courtesy of Affordable Art Fair.

Dezi Chui, ‘Nus Baba House Singapore 1970’, 2017, digital paint, 42 x 29.7cm. Image courtesy of Affordable Art Fair.

The eight young artists who will be exhibiting are Arya Wirawan from Indonesia, Liu Ling from China, Atsuko Mochida from Japan, (Dezi) Chui Tack Chee from Malaysia, who composes digital recreations of historical buildings, in which he fuses elements from the past and the present. From Singapore, there are Joanne Pang, who “explore[s] the fluidity of ink/water and plasticity of acrylic to echo tangent states of the mind” in her work, Lim Jia Qi, Ong Yu Ting and Zoey Wong.

The fair will also have a special alumni showcase, featuring winners from the first three editions of the Young Talent Programme. They include Hilmi Johandi, who won this year’s President’s Young Talents Award; Lavender Chang, who won the President’s Design Award in 2016 and has participated in group exhibitions in Mizuma Gallery, the Singapore Art Museum, and with Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York; and Ezekiel Wong Kel Win, who staged a solo exhibition at the Esplanade last year.