Affordable Art Fair sets record in sales, visitors

Affordable Art Fair sets record in sales, visitors
The crowd at the Affordable Art Fair at the F1 Pit Building, while some visitors watch Indonesian artist Adrinalia (above) working on a painting at the Art Xchange Gallery.

The popular Affordable Art Fair has wrapped up its fourth edition with record sales and visitorship. The number of visitors reached 17,800 and sales hit a new high of $4.9 million.

With a much larger fair this year, the organisers were targeting 17,000 visitors and over $4 million in sales.

Indeed, gallerists barely had time to take a break from their booths on most days of the fair which opened with a packed VIP preview last Wednesday night. Several galleries, particularly local ones, reported excellent sales.

Utterly Art, for instance, sold more than 58 artworks and had a little more than $100,000 in sales. Its hot sellers were works by home-grown artists including contemporary pop artist Andre Tan, watercolourists Foo Kwee Horng and Aaron Gan, as well as street artist TR853-1.

Among the earliest artworks to sell at the fair were local contemporary Chinese ink painter Tay Bak Chiang's six paintings priced at about $8,000 each. His works were shown by Hong Kong-based gallery Art Projects, which had a superb outing in their first showing at the fair. By closing time, it was a sea of red dots next to most artworks.

Gallerist Ray Vees Goh, 38, felt buyers were immediately drawn to Tay's minimalist style. Another big draw, he said, was that the work was priced well and paintings are easier to display in homes or keep in storage.

Another local gallery, The Gallery of Gnani Arts, sold 28 artworks. These included four bronze sculptures as well as paintings by artist P.Gnana.

Gallerist Vidhya Gnana Gouresan said she had as "much fun at the fair as the visitors. I feel it has something for everyone and is not an intimidating fair".

Local gallery Jada Art, which sold 10 artworks on the opening night alone, wrapped up the fair with sales of $90,000 and more than 60 per cent of the artworks sold.

Two of Malaysian artist Chong Ai Lei's paintings sold for $6,000 each at gallerist Valerie Cheah's booth. A few hours later, at a Christie's auction held in Hong Kong, the artist's painting, which had an estimate of US$4,900 (S$6,139), sold for US$9,723.

Said Ms Cheah, 46: "The buyers who bought her art pieces at the Affordable Art Fair must be overjoyed at the amazing value since they picked it up hours before the auction. There is a lot of art on show and one can find hidden gems at this art fair."

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