Light / Dark mode

5 Artists to Look Out For at AAF 2018

Affordable Art Fair (AAF) 2018 promises to be fun with a capital F!

Get #ArtHappy with 80 galleries at this edition; 48 from Asia, of which 22 are from Singapore. 21 galleries are exhibiting for the very first time and there are 240 new artists to look forward to! It’s the perfect escape with family and friends into the heady, hot pink world of art, food, champagne, tours, talks, demos and children’s workshops where you can also paint your own Merlion and be part of supporting the President’s Challenge. I attended the media preview on 15 November 2018 and spotted five artists for you to look out for!

Artist: Zoey Wong

Where in AAF: Young Talents Programme, Level 2

Zoey Wong with Goodbye, 2017

Goodbye is an artwork created by Singaporean artist Zoey Wong. For four months, she spent 20 to 40 hours embroidering each of the 12 hoops with her own hair. In Asian society, many people might view hair as taboo but Zoey sees it as a means of self-preservation. Her works raise the questions: How would we like to be remembered? If we fear dying, then how can we live better lives?

When she was 13, her father was diagnosed with cancer and when she was 17, her friend committed suicide. Both incidents deeply impacted her life and sparked her own exploration into what we leave behind.

Zoey has been farming her hair for the last 10 years and the longest her hair has ever been was down to her hips. For embroidery, she farms her hair to reach lengths of 20cm.

Zoey Wong, closeup of Goodbye, 2017

For this series, Zoey was inspired by the traditional Victorian craft of hair work, where the hair of deceased loved ones were woven to form flower sculptures, jewelry and other ornaments and accessories as a way of honouring their memory. She also drew inspiration from funeral wreaths. As she embroidered, she found that the repetitive stitches shifted and dissolved any anger or sadness. Through delving into our shadows, our greatest wounds are where the light shines through.

Artist: Agung Santosa

Gallery: Art Porters

Where in AAF: 3C-23

Agung Santosa with Giant Egg, 2016. Image courtesy of Art Porters

Agung Santosa was born in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia in 1986 and is now based in Yogyakarta. Agung believes that life can be as simple as allowing yourself to like something because it makes you happy. There is no need to justify to others why you create or like something. Agung hopes that his artworks allow people to slow down their pace and appreciate the often unnoticed things in life. The large scale of his Eggcellent Day series showcased by Art Porters Gallery at AAF is deliberate as it is an invitation to savour life more deeply in each moment.

Sean Soh, co-founder of Art Porters, shares that, “Agung loves eggs, especially done sunny side up. In Indonesia, a typical breakfast consists of mee goreng (fried noodles) with a fried egg. Indonesians like their egg a bit burnt on the sides as they let the kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) carmelise the edges to give it a crispy finish.”

Agung Santosa, Little by little an egg will walk from the Eggcellent Day series, 2017

May we all relish our life and come to appreciate that the most profound moments of beauty and alive-ness lie in the seemingly small and mundane pauses where we are fully accepting and allowing the now.

Artist: Yukiko Morimoto

Gallery: Sakoda Art Gallery

Where in AAF: 3D-04

Yukiko Morimoto, mask 3

Yukiko Morimoto was born in 1986 and based in the Hyogo prefecture, near Kobe, Japan. Yukiko has been practicing the technique of copper printing for the past 12 years. Animals are often featured in Yukiko’s works and she uses them as symbols of how humans might share more similarities with them than differences.

Aya Sakado, owner of Sakoda Art Gallery, says that when she first encountered Yukiko’s works 10 years ago, she fell in love with them at first sight, as “They embrace the paradox of life and the touch of the mysterious that ignites your imagination. I like that you have to stop to think about what the artist is really trying to express.”

Yukiko Morimoto, Donkey is hard worker

Yukiko’s mask series features children wearing masks that suggest a different personality beneath their adorable exterior. Rather than being something sinister, it invites adults to re-visit their own childhood and to be open to the full magnitude of your thoughts then. In this re-visitation, there is a chance to embrace all of the complexity that makes you, you. In doing so, there is a chance to come to an inner peace with all that you are now.

Artist: Lavender Chang

Where in AAF: Young Talents Programme Reunite, Level 2

Lavender Chang, with works in her series I Walked And Laid Down On This Warm, Bare Earth, 2016

Lavender Chang is one of four artists who are part of the Young Talents Programme (YTP) Reunite, a first at AAF, where YTP alumni join YTP 2018 artists. Lavender, who is from the inaugural 2012 YTP cohort, believes that, “Making art is about determination, you cannot be bothered by other elements in life.”

Lavender is originally from Taiwan and for I Walked And Laid Down On This Warm, Bare Earth she went around Singapore to source beans from different countries. She then visited the five areas she had lived in before and planted these beans in places that were exposed to the elements and human traffic. She watered them initially but then left them alone and revisited them over the span of a year. When she finally photographed the surviving sprouts, she placed a tissue behind each sprout, to show that if she did not indicate them, the sprouts blended in and looked just like any other plant in the vicinity.

Lavender Chang, from her series I Walked And Laid Down On This Warm, Bare Earth, 2016

I Walked And Laid Down On This Warm, Bare Earth draws parallels between the bean sprouts and immigrants arriving in new countries. She believes that Singaporeans will find resonance with the sentiment of her works when they travel to places they are not familiar with. Lavender’s work speaks of the strength of the human spirit to adapt and thrive.

Artist: Vijay Pichumani

Gallery: Art Houz

Where in AAF: 2A-05

Where does sound go? How are we all connected? What are the patterns in and around us? Vijay Pichumani shares that often his works are answers to his own burning questions.

Vijay Pichumani with some of his works at Art Houz’s booth at AAF 2018

Through his meditative gestures on wood and paper, Vijay makes visible the unconscious that surrounds our daily existence and renders tactile the unspoken knowingness and patterns of energy inherent within each human, animal and living being.

Just as our human body communicates via nerves, all forms and beings talk to each other through frequencies and waves; we are all connected. As within, so around. There are universal patterns shared with the flow of wind and water, the rings on tree bark, the core of the earth, the flow of lava from a volcano and the crack when a phone falls on the floor.

Vijay Pichumani, Sniffer (Searching for Boundary), 2018

Sniffer explores the shared animal instinct and human intuition of knowing something is going to happen before it occurs. Vijay delves into this by exploring the trajectory of sound and smell with intricate lines. The centre of the artwork is made of paper that has dots burnt into them. Vijay believes that a dot holds the all in life; the everything-ness and the nothingness; the zero point and the infinity point; all we seek that we already are.

So there you have it, folks – my personal pick of the five artists you should look for at AAF 2018! Remember to check them out when you visit the fair, which is on from today till Sunday, 18 November.

Support our work on Patreon