Ms. Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth was Guest-of-Honour at the S.E.A. Focus Vernissage. In her speech, Ms. Fu lauded S.E.A. Focus for manifesting two priority areas of Our SG Arts Plan – building capabilities and positioning Singapore globally. She recognised that STPI had the strengths and international network to kickstart a marketplace event dedicated to Southeast Asian art.
S.E.A. Focus attracted 26 galleries with the majority hailing from Southeast Asia. Works from over 54 artists were presented. They ranged from pioneer artists such as Latiff Mohidin (Malaysia) and Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient Han Sai Por, to emerging talents such as Ruben Pang (Singapore) and Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho (Philippines).
The boutique showcase was complimented for creating a "well thought out and intimate setting for collectors and art patrons, that has the exhibitor in mind," Guillaume Levy-Lambert, Co-founder, Art Porters (Singapore). This was corroborated by Cesar H. Villalon, Jr., Founder of The Drawing Room (Manila), "I really like the fair. The flow of traffic was good, and the audience was vibrant,". A regular visitor to international art fairs, Etienne Wang (Singapore), commended the organisation of S.E.A. Focus, "It was spectacularly well-run, efficient and remarkably pleasant, I was very impressed!"
Numerous galleries reported strong sales, "We are grateful to have been able to reach such an enthusiastic arts audience and are happy to report a sold-out booth of works by Singaporean artist Faris Nakamura," said Richard Koh, Founder of eponymous gallery, Richard Koh Fine Arts (Singapore). Debutants to the Singapore market appreciated the opportunity to reach new audiences, "We met an incredible number of collectors, networks, and people who wished to get to know us and what we stand for. In terms of who came, it's great…We are very happy with sales, and to share that the works we sold were to collectors from the region which means they will remain here in Southeast Asia," said Oliver Newton, Partner, 47 Canal (New York City). Other new participants to the local marketplace were similarly enthused, "We are very pleased with our first entry to the Singapore market…We have a large number of sales and are looking forward to returning," said Sophie Kubler, Senior Gallery Associate, Jan Manton Art (Brisbane).
S.E.A. Focus also provided a focal point for new relationships and arts education, "This is our first time having a booth in Singapore, and we made a lot of new connections which even included museums, galleries, collectors and friends…. And we see a lot of students coming through! It's really nice to see that these fairs serve as an educational platform as well." Pearamon, spokesperson from Gallery VER (Bangkok). The #SEAspotlight talks programme was particularly well-received, "The breadth of the #SEAspotlight talks was an eye-opener. I was especially pleased and honoured to be able to get up close and listen to passionate Southeast Asian art collectors share their love for art and believing that their collection can make a difference in this world!", said Adrian Hng (Singapore).
Regional collectors were supportive of the boutique fair, "This platform's intimate nature and well-curated showcase of galleries was a refreshing change. I discovered new artists and several pieces caught my eye," shared Axton Salim (Indonesia). They also appreciated the access provided by S.E.A. Focus special programmes which included museum tours and visits to the homes of local collectors; these allowed them to better understand Singapore's and Southeast Asia's visual art scenes. Zena Khan (Malaysia) said, "I had a really wonderful time at S.E.A. Focus and the unique events around it. These activities provided me with intimate access to gain a deeper understanding of our region's art."
"It is both challenging and fulfilling to be able to shape and present S.E.A. Focus, building on reputations and capabilities of our galleries for both local and international audiences. I am grateful for the support that the different agencies, especially the National Arts Council and our Lead Partner, United Overseas Bank have entrusted in us," said Emi Eu, Executive Director, STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery. "STPI will build upon the success of S.E.A. Focus to increase awareness and raise the profile for Southeast Asian art".
About S.E.A. FOCUS
An initiative by STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery, S.E.A. Focus is a platform to foster deeper appreciation and increased demand for Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art through dynamic collaboration between international and local galleries. The inaugural edition of S.E.A. Focus took the form of a boutique art fair and was held from 23 to 27 January 2019 at the Gillman Barracks visual arts cluster.
STPI is a workshop & contemporary art gallery based in Singapore. Established in 2002, STPI is committed to promoting artistic experimentation in the mediums of print and paper and has become one of the most cutting-edge destinations for contemporary art in Asia. STPI sits alongside National Gallery Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum as part of the national Visual Arts Cluster of leading institutions in the region.
STPI Creative Workshop is a rigorous laboratory for pushing the boundaries of various print and papermaking techniques. Bolstered by specialised facilities and a highly qualified workshop team, STPI Creative Workshop produces unique collaborations with leading international artists