Stumbling in to the Singapore Art scene


When art spills out of the exclusive galleries and in to easy reach of the mass, it doesn’t lose its allure though it may lose it’s ‘unapproachable’ tag. I like that!

Singapore has been experiencing an art awakening. There have been visual delights for an average art enthusiast, the so-called common guy on the street, the novice and the mass. With adorable elephants staring at me from Orchard Road sidewalks to the fair that called itself ‘affordable’, art suddenly seem accessible to all.

From Musee d’Orsay that turned dreams to reality by placing choicest art works from Orsay to local walls, to the Gallery Indigo Blue Art, that exhibited the Indian Mordern Masters, the art scene is thriving. From Arpana Caur to MF Hussein and from Degas to Van Gogh, the paintings have not seemed out of place in the tropical weather of Singapore.  Interestingly, the art galleries and the art exhibitions around the city are bending backwards to entice and invite the art enthusiasts and the art experts. As an average art lover, two events got my recent vote. One had placed art right at my eye level and on my sidewalks and the other tempted me to own a piece of art. These two were ‘The Elephant Parade’ and the ‘Affordable Art Fair’.

If the purpose of art is to alter your experiencing world, to allow you to peep in to an alternative view, to start you thinking or to just open you to possibilities then the purpose has been achieved in this city as I had walked from one art piece to another, clapping my hands in glee at the spread that it had offered.

The Elephant Parade: Ele Fun- Asia by Ye Ruoshi

Elephants are so ubiquitous to Asia that the choice of elephant as an exhibition theme had been appropriate. Unfortunately, it was difficult to view all the 100 painted elephants on parade unless you were on the ‘elephant trail’ but there were few that did catch my eye as a passerby and enthralled me.

Affordable Art Fair

At the price of 11$ per ticket, I was offered walls and walls of visual delights. My head spun around, trying to store the kaleidoscope of artists and art in to my mind- space but the only way to do this place justice was to walk through it once and then walk through it all over again.

Since the artists belonged to different countries and exhibited different artistic sensibilities, nothing remained stagnant or monotonous. Landscapes changed, brushstrokes differed and mediums changed usability and inferences. My first walk through the fair allowed me to take in the art and my second walk allowed me to note the price and the details. The details were in abundance and easily available- details about the artist, the accolades and explanation about the art on display were offered freely. Many artists were present to talk about their work and hearing their explanation ensured a closer look at their art.

Knowing nothing about the artists and keeping no future investment or colour code in mind, I formulated a wish list right there. Ketna Patel, Michael Tan, Matsuda Shigehito, Myanmar’s Ba khine and Pakistan’s Usman Alvi. These were the art pieces that attracted me, communicated with me, conveyed some meaning, remaining in my heart long after they had moved away from my line of vision.

Unfortunately, I neither had the resources nor the wall space, or my wish list would have been fulfilled. Nevertheless, I am hooked and I am coming again next year. Common sense says that when art walks to you on a platter, spread both your arms and the art lover in me reminds me to keep my eyes and heart open to it’s beauty and enjoy.

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