Culture & Religion

Art Expo Malaysia returns on 20th to 23rd October 2016

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Gear up for the largest, most significant and prestigious international visual art feast in Malaysia – Art Expo Malaysia! The 10th edition of this yearly art fair will take place from October 20 – 23, at Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC), Kuala Lumpur, featuring 60 established and reputable art galleries / groups from 30 countries, exhibiting some 2,000 pieces of artwork (including paintings, sculptures, installation, and photography) of various styles, expressions, and media, all under one roof.

Currently the longest-running art fair in Southeast Asia, Art Expo Malaysia is also probably the most public-friendly art fair in the world, as it does not charge any entrance fee, and has in fact offered free admission since its inception in 2007! (Entering an art fair in Singapore would cost about RM80; in Hong Kong, it would cost about RM135.)

Number 1 Gallery, Thailand | Leela Promwong, ‘Patronage system’

The Malaysia bandwagon, the largest delegation, will have a good number of reputable exhibitors, as well as new players in the local art scene. These galleries will represent more than 100 local artists, a great mix of pioneer artists, superstars, and both established and emerging young artists. The Malaysian works usually receive enthusiastic response and good remarks from the visitors. With a strong pool of local collectors specifically seeking Malaysian Art, it is expected that the sales of Malaysian Art will again be excellent.

Exhibitors’ lineup this year includes the usual past exhibitors and supporters such as Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, Masterpiece Auction, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum & Art Gallery, National Visual Arts Gallery Malaysia, Galeri Prima (NSTP), Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery, City Art Gallery, G13 Gallery, HOM Art Trans, Jeth Art Gallery, Nadine Fine Art, Pelita Hati Gallery Of Art, Pin Wei Zhai Art Gallery, Segaris Art Center, Taksu, Tiny Rose Gallery, TJ Fine Art, Tree & Me Furniture Design, and Yahong Art Gallery. Peter Liew’s works will be exhibited too, whose booth is sponsored by a corporation.

Some of these galleries also represent foreign artists as well; for example, Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery represents the famous Chinese artist Sanzi; both the art auction houses Henry Butcher and Masterpiece will showcase works by Southeast Asian artists or highlight pieces of the coming auctions.

Strong Singapore representation

Art Xchange Gallery, Singapore | Husin Hasibuan, ‘Diambang kepunahan’ or ‘On the verge of extinction’

From neighbouring Singapore, as many as eight galleries are participating, forming the second-largest exhibitor group, which includes the esteemed Art Xchange Gallery, ArtBlue Studio, Cape of Good Hope Art Gallery, Kato Art Duo, Maya Gallery, REDSEA Gallery, The Gallery of Gnani Arts, and White Space Art Asia. It is common that galleries in Singapore represent artists of various nationalities. Art Xchange Gallery mainly represents Indonesian artists; ArtBlue Studio mainly represents Vietnamese artists; Kato Art Duo mainly represents Japanese artists; REDSEA Gallery used to showcase works by French, Russian, and Spanish artists, but will be debuting with Korean and Indonesian works this round.

Foreign exhibitors

From other parts of Southeast Asia, Myanmar is represented by Colour Cube Art Gallery, first-time participant; Thailand is represented by Number 1 Gallery; Vietnam is represented by Viet Art Space, its debut appearance in this art fair; Indonesia is represented by REDBASE Contemporary Art, another first-time participant which will be showcasing an amazing sculpture at the main entrance of the exhibition hall – you will be impressed!

Foreign Asian exhibitors include Hong Kong’s Chit Fung Art, which represents top-notch level Chinese ink masters such as Jia Youfu and Pan Gongkai; Korea’s Zoom Gallery, in collaboration with Nine Gallery, which presents fascinating works of strong Korean identity. Meanwhile, from Japan, besides the frequent exhibitor LSD Gallery, two other galleries – namely Gallery UG and SHINSEIDO – will be joining for the first time. From Taiwan, the 91-year-old Taiwanese Chinese ink Grandmaster Prof. Li Chi Mao will be exhibiting a few recent pieces.

Gallery UG, Japan | Kunihiko Nohara, ‘The town of radio cassette player’

Spain’s ATR Gallery booth is visitors’ all-time-favourite booth. Be mesmerised by the latest works of Spanish sculptor Jesus Curia, and pieces by Spanish master Joan Miro, and if lucky enough, if not sold yet, some pieces by Picasso! There will also be an Embassy Zone, which sees participation from 13 Embassies, namely Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, France, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, Romania, Russia ( in its debut appearance).

Each Embassy proudly represents one selected solo artist from its country. In addition, there will be the National Exhibition of China, presented by the Ministry of Culture China, which showcases three or four Chinese contemporary ink artists. Art Expo Malaysia is under the Royal Patronage of Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Perlis, DYTM Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra ibni Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail, and DYTM Tuanku Hajjah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil, who noted, “We, as the Royal Patron, have watched over the growth of the Art Expo Malaysia, and are proud of its achievements and progress. As year goes by, we see better quality of artworks and even masterpieces by some of the most famous names in the art world, we see increasing visitorship and most importantly the increasing awareness towards art appreciation in the public.

Left: Christine Park Gallery, UK – Ting-Tong Chang, Robinson | Right: YEA by Art WeMe, Malaysia – Wang Zhiwu, Couple Series

The Art Expo Malaysia has definitely brought the visual arts industry in Malaysia a big leap forward.” Fair Director Sim Pojinn said, “Art Expo Malaysia promotes Malaysia Art in an international art platform, promoting local galleries and artists world widely, educating the public about art appreciation and art investment, promoting arts to a wider community (via intensive marketing) thus nurturing the interest towards arts in them, bolstering Kuala Lumpur as an important art hub in Southeast Asia that is active in art commerce and art development, as well as networking within the community.

Following last year’s success of recording RM16.9 million sales of artworks and a visitorship of 24,200 people, we hope to achieve a greater success while we improve from different aspects.” Project Director Sim Polenn said, “Come with your family and friends, have a good quality time admiring and acquiring artworks!” At the same time, Polenn also emphasised on a point, “Buy art because you like it; if there is investment return, that’s a bonus!”

Free Admission to Art Expo Malaysia. For more information, please call 03.7728 3677, drop an email to [email protected], or visit

Home page image: Embassy of Colombia, Katherine Gailer – The Power Of Vulnerability.

This article was originally published in The Expat magazine (September 2016) which is available online or in print via a free subscription.

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