Expansion plans for art gallery group

Expansion plans for art gallery group
From left, Benjamin Hampe, owner/director of Chan Hampe Galleries, Emi Eu, vice-president of Art Galleries Association (Singapore), Ms Vera Ong, president of Art Galleries Association (Singapore), Kamiliah Bahdar, curator of Galerie Steph and Linda Gallery's David Fu.

SINGAPORE - The Art Galleries Association (Singapore) is looking for fresh blood to propel it into its next phase of growth.

The 17-year-old non-profit organisation of art galleries has been getting a makeover in the last few months to woo new members and its latest move is a joint exhibition.

Confluence, the upcoming showcase at Artspace@Helutrans by curator Kamiliah Bahdar of Galerie Steph, will feature more than 40 works of art from most of the association's 25 member galleries, including stalwart Art Forum and relative newcomer Art Plural Gallery.

The works are priced for sale from upwards of a few thousand dollars and they include pieces by artists such as Cultural Medallion recipient Goh Beng Kwan and acclaimed Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.

The association's president Vera Ong, 55, says the relaunch is timely given the increase in art galleries in recent years, including the cluster of 14 galleries that opened in Gillman Barracks last year.

Ms Emi Eu, 43, vice-president of the association, adds: "Every gallery is dedicated to different types of artwork and they work with different artists. But when a place is small like Singapore and everybody is trying to do many different things, at times it is disadvantageous because you are trying to get attention from this small group of people."

As a member of the association, however, galleries have "the advantage of working as a group and being recognised as a group", says Ms Eu, who is also director of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.

Ms Ong, who is also the owner of Art-2 Gallery, adds that as the association expands its presence, it will also gain a bigger voice to advocate for art galleries, art collectors and art lovers here.

One way is to launch a polished gallery guide, says the association's treasurer Benjamin Hampe.

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