As Art Expo Malaysia swings into its 11th edition this year, we take a look at what is in store for art enthusiasts and collectors at the longest-running art fair in South-East Asia. From paintings to sculptures, photographs and installations, visitors can expect a vibrant representation from some 70 art galleries and art collectives from around the world when it opens its doors to the public on Oct 12.
Over 2,000 works by artists from 35 countries will be showcased at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC) in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 12- 15. It is free admission for all to the Art Expo, as it has been since day one.
“The reason we have been keeping admission free for 11 years is because our main objective is to promote art to a wider community, as well to increase awareness and art appreciation.
“Art has no boundaries, it is a source of inspiration and it moves people to be more cultured, to be more courageous. It is a way to express oneself, a means to convey a message or to record historical and contemporary issues,” says Sim Polenn, Art Expo Malaysia public relations director.
“Art brings people together. This is why art is so important,” he adds.
When Art Expo kicks off this week, expect to see many familiar faces; local galleries like A2 Gallery, City Art Gallery, Pelita Hati Gallery of Art and Yahong Art Gallery have been part of the expo since its early years and will once again be setting up shop there this year.
Among others, the Malaysian line-up includes Artseni Gallery, Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Core Design Gallery, G13 Gallery, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, Jeth Art Gallery, Masterpiece Auction (Tiny Rose Gallery), Minut Init, Taksu, The Print Room and V’ Art Space.
The Malaysian galleries will represent over 100 artists in total, which includes both established and emerging talents, as well as Malaysian artists and international artists from South-East Asia and beyond – from as far as China, Turkey and Russia.
Art Expo welcomed 2,000 visitors in its inaugural edition in 2007. Last year, it saw 25,000 visitors throng the exhibition space, while the event raked in RM17mil in artwork sales.
“The increase in visitorship shows that our effort has not been futile. More people are interested in nurturing an interest in art and art appreciation. Along with this, we also see a larger pool of collectors now,” reveals Sim.
There are a few special features to look out for at the Art Expo this year.
Sabahan artist Awang Damit Ahmad, whose works have been auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, will be honoured with a Tribute Showcase in recognition of his contribution to the modern art scene. Popular series of works like Essence of Culture (EOC), Marista, Iraga, Payarama and Garismega will be on display.
Oil and water might not mix, but Kim Il Tae says oil and gold certainly can. Represented by Saged Gallery, Kim’s mixed 24K gold and oil on canvas work will turn many a head.
If Chinese ink is your thing, then hop on over to Hong Kong’s Chit Fung Art for works by Chinese ink masters Jia Youfu, Pan Gongkai, Li Xiaoke, Wang Xijing and Wang Mingming.
The Cultural Exchange Section, which sees participation from 12 embassies (from Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Croatia, Ecuador, Italy, Iran, Mexico, Mongolia, Romania, and for the first time, Jordan), will each showcase works from one selected artist.
Don’t miss out on Spain’s ATR Gallery’s booth, an all-time favourite with visitors each year. You might be able to get up close and personal with works by Spanish masters such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali here.
“The Art Expo is art for all, so bring your family and friends. The art fair promises to stun – come and experience it for yourself. Come to the expo to admire art, have fun, be inspired, and perhaps start your art collecting journey here.
“It is a chance of a lifetime to see these beautiful works from 35 countries all under one roof. With so many works on display, there must be something that will strike a chord in you,” concludes Sim.
Art Expo Malaysia is on at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC), Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 12-15. Opening hours: 11am to 7.30pm daily, except Oct 15 (11am to 6pm). Visit www.artexpomalaysia.com for more information. Admission is free.