Whether it’s your first or your fortieth piece, Singapore must be one of the best and easiest places to buy art. Dotted with hundreds of galleries showcasing an amazing variety of artists and genres, it will spoil you for choice.
We buy art for all sorts of reasons – as a gift for ourselves or a loved one, a way of marking a special time in our lives, a reminder of visiting a memorable place, a canny financial investment, something to add colour to an empty wall, because it inspires us, or simply because looking at it makes us happy. Here, you tell us why you chose that work of art.
Art Glass Solutions
30 Kuo Chan Avenue
(+65) 6440 4957
Lorraine Boon, Singapore
In building our new house, we needed doors to separate our kitchen and dining room and still let in the natural light from the large kitchen windows. This was a good opportunity to try something different: sandblasted glass artwork with a tropical marine theme.
I had worked with Jane Cowie on a small commercial project and liked her drive, artistic vision, professionalism and positive attitude. I also liked the pieces by her that I’d seen in The New Majestic Hotel and in the Merrill Lynch Building in the HarbourFront development.
We haven’t yet done the big “reveal”, as we are still furnishing the house. But the theme has raised a few eyebrows, so I suppose it has already done what good art should do – created a little controversy!
(+65) 8198 5085
Janie Yap-Bredall, Singapore and the USA
Titled Confidence, this oil on canvas depicts an aspiring actress, and I feel it exudes a mystic aura and charm. It’s a constant reminder for myself that confidence makes a person stand tall and look attractive.
I visited the gallery on the recommendation of a friend, and found Bahareh very personable and pleasant. Being able to meet the artist in person made a huge difference. She explained her art to me, and I could sense her passion for what she does. The artwork hangs in our family room, where it gives us pleasure every day.
#03-02 Holland Road Shopping Centre
(+65) 6466 0800
Sandra and Tom Blayney, Singapore and Australia
I take all my framing to Angie Mui, as I find her very creative and she guarantees her work. This ancestor portrait is one of a few that she did for me recently.
I’ve always been into ancestor portraits, but it’s quite difficult to find an authentic one. I acquired my first one in Hong Kong some time ago, and then stumbled across a little shop in Chinatown, where I bought four pieces. When the shop owner took one of them back to Beijing for restoration, he had to declare it at the airport on the way in, because of the legal difficulties in exporting antiquities like this from China.
In the old days there was no photography; works like these recorded the family through the generations. I like the fact that it’s a collector’s item, and unlike many Asian people, I’m not superstitious about ancestor portraits. To me, the rich colours and the intricacy of the robes are fascinating.
1 Cuscaden Road, Ground Level
(+65) 6725 3113
Alexandre Belmonte, Sweden
I have two small oils-on-canvas by Filipino artist Benito from Galerie Joaquin, both of which depict women. A year ago, I bought the first one – aptly titled Faith – having completed my studies in shipping law and as a present to myself after receiving my first paycheque. The colours and something about the expression in the subject’s eyes immediately appealed to me.
That one I bought on my own, and at Christmastime last year, after we got married in June, my husband Anders and I chose this second one together. It’s of a flower-girl, and we have hung it next to the other one.
The artworks I have seen at Galerie Joaquin are generally very colourful and passionate, and display good style and skilful technique. Our next purchase will probably be a Rubio. The artists at this gallery are generally young, and I feel it’s nice to have art that was created by someone who is still alive!
The Gallery of Gnani Arts
1 Cuscaden Road, Ground Level
(+65) 6725 3112
Arthur and Paula Wagner, the USA
The title of this oil on canvas by P. Gnana is Eternal Companion – 118 and its subject is companionship and love. A picture in Expat Living of a room with a painting by P. Gnana was what brought us to Gnani Arts.
We were attracted to this painting for reasons both structural and emotional. Its simplicity, the minimalist style of the neutral background and the powerful contrasting colours of the subjects appealed to us. From an emotional aspect, the painting conveys a harmonious environment wherein the subjects share a peaceful and loving connection.
Vidhya is a wonderful curator with a wealth of knowledge. She welcomed us with a glass of wine and introduced us to the artist, so we had the opportunity to talk with him in-depth about his paintings, style, background and inspiration.
Our painting is hung a central location, and we continue to enjoy it every day.
Ketna Patel @ Michi Artists
35 Jalan Puteh Jerneh
Chip Bee Gardens, Holland Village
(+65) 6479 3736
Claire and Henry Mytton-Mills, the UK
I first met Ketna Patel at an impromptu supper at the old hawker stalls on the corner of Hill Street and Stamford Road. That’s how long ago it was. She was a vision of wild hair and radical colour – just like her art. I keenly followed her work for more than a decade, until we met again at ARTSingapore in 2007.
That’s where I fell head over heels in love with Doors of Rajasthan, a two-metre-square photo collage on wooden panels, finished in high gloss acrylic. Having just returned from Rajasthan, I was immediately transported right back to India’s most vibrant state. It has brought lots of positive energy into our home and is positioned to fill the entire living space. If you stand close enough you can almost hear the tuk-tuks tooting!
Each of the 108 images is wildly different from the next, but tells its own story about the daily life and history that has passed through the huge double doors, be they the grand frontage of a noble Rajput haveli, a street-side store or a city gateway. The piece invariably provokes a loud “Wow!” or “I love this!” from our visitors. And that is why we love it so much.
Ode to Art
Raffles City Shopping Centre #01-36E/F
(+65) 6250 1901
Dr Irit Ben Ari, Israel
This is part of the 2007 Lotus series by the late Chua Ek Kay, one of Singapore’s most famous and talented artists, and our friend, who passed away in February last year. He has been hailed as a “bridge between Asian and Western art”.
I love the strong and light strokes of the brushwork and the composition of water and flowers. This special technique is a harmonious interplay of ink and water on paper, known as xieyi, a highly spontaneous style of ink painting of the Shanghai School.
In consultation with the artist, we decided to hang it in our dining room, where it literally reflects our home. This makes it part of our apartment, as our apartment is part of it, and to us this is the real meaning of bringing art home.
Red Sea Gallery
Block 9 Dempsey Hill #01-10
(+65) 6732 6711
Michael Ryan, the UK
I’ve been a regular patron of Red Sea Gallery for four or five years, ever since owner Chris Churcher helped me find a dream painting by Vietnamese artist Phong and arranged for me to meet the man and his wife. Since then I have bought several works from Red Sea, including landscapes, abstracts and quite a few that, shall we say, celebrate the female form.
This one was commissioned from the Indonesian artist Utin, who lives in Central Java. I like the way it seems abstract up close, and you have to really stand back to see the subject’s face. The bright colours complement my home, and the sheer size of the painting gives a proper sense of scale to the apartment.
I’m looking to build a diverse collection of Asian art, and right now I am concentrating on seeking out other large-scale works for the villa I am building on the island of Gili Trawangan, between Lombok and Bali.
Sally Persaud Photography
(+65) 6378 9301
Ken Loh and Jace Soh, Singapore
My wife Jace and I have become good friends with Sally since we met her many years ago. We feel that knowing the artist gives a new dimension to owning a piece of her work. At one of her exhibitions, at the Art Loft, we saw this colour photograph titled Drive-in Volcano, which she took at Soufiere in St Lucia in the Caribbean. Jace and I were immediately attracted to it because we both love nature.
All of Jace’s jewellery designs reflect the natural environment, and she finds that this picture – which is hanging in our Millenia Walk jewellery shop (Jace & Co.) – gives her a lot of inspiration. One of her ranges was actually inspired by it. Sometimes she takes it home if she plans on working there; fortunately, it’s easily transportable!
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.