Singapore is strategically placed with strong ties to both East and West, serving as a cultural gateway and an ideal venue for cultural events and fairs. Its flagship event, Art Stage Singapore, has been making a name for itself as a global marketplace for contemporary Asian art.

Top galleries are reporting high sales figures and an increase in the demand for work by emerging artists and a noticeable global shift towards Asia, especially the Southeast Asian region. Indonesian artists are among those making a big impact.

Acknowledging Indonesia’s strong presence in the art scene, Art Stage has been directing its spotlight on Indonesia, showcasing it in a thorough and comprehensive manner. A pavilion dedicated to the Indonesian artists was set up in 2013, where 50 artists presented their work in the gallery booths and the accompanied complementary exhibition. Never before had Indonesian art been the focal point of an international art festival on such a grand scale.

Most of the works on show were unveiled for the first time outside Indonesia and many were exclusively created for Art Stage Singapore. Among those participating were familiar and renowned artists like Heri Dono and Tintin Wulia, along with the newcomers breaking onto the global scene. Leading Indonesian galleries also added their weight to the event and names like Nadi, Semarang, D Gallerie, Element Art Space, Arario Gallery and Gajah Gallery were present.

The Indonesian artists have continued their popularity with collectors and investors alike in Art Stage 2014 as well. A long waiting list has been reported for Artist Ay Tjoe Christine ‘s work, “Big Portion Only For the Red” and Arina Abu Bakar from Gajah Gallery reports selling four works by artist Yunizar, three of which were his most recent bronze creations. Rahmat, Director of Galeri Apik Indonesia, also reports selling two works by contemporary Indonesian artist Yarno that were created especially for Art Stage Singapore.fsh

Arts Stage attracts influential collectors and buyers from all over the world featuring over 120 galleries, with Asian art making up to 80 percent of the exhibited works. In its fourth year, the event- held from 15th of January 2014 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre- witnessed a record of 45,700 visitors.

Renowned Indonesian art collector and gallery owner, Dr Oei Hong Djien, said “This year, we see new developments like the platforms and museum-like curated exhibitions, for example, the Taiwan platform curated by Rudy Tseng. It’s amazing….Every year, I meet artists from many other countries whom I do not previously know, such as the artists from China. Through the fair, I got to know more about the artists’ works and hence became more aware of what is happening in the art scene regionally and internationally.”

Indonesian Art – Worldwide Appeal

Aside from the flagship event of Art Stage, Indonesian art has been featured in the European galleries that have a presence in Singapore. Two such galleries are Berlin-based ARNDT and Galerie Michael Janssen. These European galleries have come in to Singapore with an eye on the Asian market and they display works by many Asian artists. Not only has this increased the access to Indonesian art, but it has also provided the Indonesian artists, an access to newer audiences, both in Asia and Europe. Art Xchange Gallery (from Surabaya) also features Indonesian artists such as Indyra, Febry Swandito, Ramadhan Bouqie, Sugiri Willim and Suwandi Waeng and its gallery in Singapore’s Chinatown seeks to create “an artistic space that encourage a creative exchange between regional and international artists from Indonesia and the rest of the world,” according to the gallery’s director, Benny Oentoro.

The increased popularity of Indonesian art has translated in to commercial success as well, with 68% of Christie’s and Sotheby’s Southeast Asian turnovers attributed to artists from Indonesia. Works by artists like Nyoman Masriadi is highly sought after at the Asian auctions and his painting, which was originally valued at US$13,000 was sold in 2008 for almost US$1 million.

Last year’s Venice Biennale also had an Indonesian pavilion, where works by Entang Wiharso, Sri Astari, Albert Yonathan and Titarubi were showcased. As the interest in Indonesian art increases, so does the value of these art pieces. The art world currently has its eye on Indonesia.

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  1. Mizuma Gallery at Art Stage Singapore 2014
  2. Uji Handoko Eko Saputro, ARNDT Art Stage Singapore 2014
  3. Entang Wiharso, Borderless Reclaim
    (Photo: Art Stage Singapore)
  4. Uji Handoko Eko Saputro, Beyond Biennale
    (Photo: Equator Art Projects)
  5. Sugiri Willim, Fortune Seizure
  6. Suwandi Waeng, Bisa Membuat Aku Tersenyum
  7. Isa Ansory, Hopes To Become A Butterfly
  8. Ramadhan Bouqie, Cerita Tak Terselesaikan
  9. Indyra, Charmed