For the first time, Singapore hosts 59 galleries from 22 countries featuring more than 230 artists from the Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia (ME.NA.SA) regions at the Singapore Art Fair. It is the first in Asia to feature modern and contemporary art from the ME.NA.SA region. The Fair opened today and will run through to 30 November, 2014. “The birth of the Singapore Art Fair reflects the dynamism of Singapore’s cultural scene. Singapore aims to be a springboard for young and established artists to be discovered, as well as where young galleries look for platforms to gain international exposure. The Singapore Art Fair is a Fair that provides both artists and galleries with a unique platform that creates avenues for cultural exchange, especially between the Middle East, North Africa and South and Southeast Asia, encouraging global dialogue based on art,” said Ms Laure d’Hauteville, Founder and Fair Director, Singapore Art Fair. On the debut of Singapore Art Fair, Mr Jason Ng, Executive Director, Singapore Art Fair, said, “We are proud to present the inaugural Singapore Art Fair to audiences in Singapore and Asia. As the first art fair in Asia that showcases modern and contemporary art from the ME.NA.SA regions, we want to bring to everyone’s consciousness what the region has undergone throughout history, especially to audiences in Singapore and Asia.
It is time Asia had a Fair dedicated to ME.NA.SA art, bringing art from the region to the fore so we bring an awareness of the political and social unrest the region has undergone. “We will have three pavilions headlining the Fair – the ME.NA Pavilion, Lebanese Pavilion and Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein Pavilion. Each of these pavilions has been designed to not only broaden visitors’ horizons to these regions, but also help them see and understand their culture, history and political struggles through the artists’ perspectives.” The focus will be on works by seven young and renowned artists from the ME.NA region. The Lebanese Pavilion, curated by Ms Janine Maamari, collector, curator and Founder of Liban Art in Lebanon, is titled, ‘Contemporary Lebanon: Art Beyond Violence’. The pavilion comprises works inspired through personal historical experiences from emerging and renowned artists who are living in Lebanon and abroad.
These artworks will share their common concerns – the turmoil in the Middle East, its reverberations on their multicultural democracy and, concomitantly, the seeming loss of freedom and equilibrium in the country. The other must-visit pavilion is the Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein Pavilion. Seven of the selected works of Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein, the late renowned Malaysian artist, will be on display for the first time in Singapore. Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein witnessed the many social, economic and political changes that took place around the world. As a well-travelled individual, his art was very much inspired by the events that were happening, of his travels across the world and the places he visited. Quoting the late Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein, “Many incidents that were happening around the world made me realise I had to fulfil a serious commitment in art. I began to see that it is the duty of the artist to paint for his fellowmen the suffering and ecstasy of his time. I had to express my whole creative wholeness to give meaning to my own credibility, my own life.” The collection presented at the Fair will give visitors a glimpse of the entirety of his works. All his works will be presented by Ms Alia Ibrahim Hussein, Dato’ Ibrahim Hussein’s daughter.
Engaging The Public at the Singapore Art Fair In addition to the three pavilions, the Singapore Art Fair will also host many other programme segments designed to connect visitors to the Fair, inspiring them to learn more about art from the region. Highlights include a video art performance, street art performance, public art showcase and educational talks. World Premiere of “So Far, So Close” by world-renowned Roger Moukarzel To mark the start of the inaugural Singapore Art Fair, world-renowned Lebanese photographer and videographer, Roger Moukarzel, presents a Video art performance, the World Premiere of “So Far, So Close”, specially put together for the Fair. “So Far, So Close” documents Mr Moukarzel’s journeys from Beirut to New York, Paris to Dubai and Kingston to Oman, where he captured more than 50,000 images. It is with the use of these images and the process of super-imposition of single images that he achieved high-precision “cross-fading” in the video, the end product being, “SO FAR SO CLOSE”. The video was co-produced by QUAD Production, Paris and FIX Studio. Public Art Showcase 11 artists present their monumental sculptures at The Singapore Art Fair as a reflection of the artists’ perspectives about the world and life. The artists include Gwong Osang, a rising star of the Asian art scene, the renowned Lebanese sculptor Nadim Karam and Aung Myint, Myanmar’s most important contemporary artist.