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Art What!: STPI’s S.E.A. Focus returns in January 2021 with a hybrid, more integrated experience

Screenshot 2020-11-19 at 9.49.50 AM

Southeast Asian art fair S.E.A. Focus returns from 20th to 31st January 2021 as an anchor event of the annual Singapore Art Week. Now in its third edition, the fair is set to break new ground by offering an exciting and complementary blend of digital and in-person art experiences for collectors, artists, galleries and the public.

This initiative celebrates the best of contemporary art in Southeast Asia and it is led by STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery, and supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore. S.E.A. Focus 2021 to offer innovative integrated art experiences that will broaden horizons for audiences and galleries. For the first time, S.E.A. Focus will present twinned offerings – S.E.A. Focus Digital and S.E.A. Focus Curated. S.E.A. Focus Digital is an online platform staged exclusively with Artsy, leading global online fine art marketplace and Main Online Partner of S.E.A. Focus 2021. The platform enables S.E.A. Focus to bring contemporary art from Southeast Asia to a global audience, including avid art collectors in Artsy’s extensive database, and offer them a seamless discovery-to-purchase experience. S.E.A. Focus Curated, on the other hand, is an immersive, physical showcase in Tanjong Pagar Distripark where works of art from participating galleries are presented in a space designed by architect Randy Chan of Zarch Collaboratives.

The showcase eschews the usual layout of art fair booths for an open, fluid exhibition. The show, titled hyper–horizon, is a response to the waves of change and possibility seizing Southeast Asia as it seeks to spur urgent focus on the place and vitality of art in testing times. The bold, non-conventional presentation aims to spark new connections between works of art from Southeast Asia and create opportunities for collectors and audiences to make fresh discoveries.

The showcase can also be experienced virtually through the S.E.A. Focus website, seafocus.sg. S.E.A. Focus 2021 will feature leading Singapore and international art galleries, including A+ Works of Art (Kuala Lumpur) and Gallery Side 2 (Tokyo), which will be taking part for the first time. The returning galleries include: Art Porters (Singapore); Art Seasons (Singapore); CUC Gallery (Hanoi); FOST Gallery (Singapore); Gajah Gallery (Singapore, Yogyakarta); Mizuma Gallery (New York, Singapore, Tokyo); Nova Contemporary (Bangkok); Richard Koh Fine Art (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore); ROH Projects (Jakarta); Silverlens Galleries (Manila); Sullivan+Strumpf (Singapore, Sydney), The Columns Gallery (Seoul); The Drawing Room (Manila); Wei Ling Gallery (Kuala Lumpur) and Yavuz Gallery (Singapore, Sydney).

Isa Lorenzo, co-director of Silverlens Galleries says: “We are returning in 2021 because we believe a platform like S.E.A. Focus is important, not just for Singapore, but for the region. The online and onsite components make sense, and in the hands of a very able team, I have no doubt that those who see the show, in-person or virtually, will be rewarded.” Can Yavuz, founder and managing director of Yavuz Gallery says: “As a Singaporean gallery, we are always happy to support and be part of a homegrown initiative, especially one as unique and well-organised as S.E.A. Focus. It has a strong programming that appeals to regional collectors, and its intimate scale allows for deeper and more personal encounters with art, the artists, galleries and other collectors.”

The digital platform and curated showcase will be complemented by an engaging line-up of VIP programmes and public talks. These include in-person and virtual visits to artist studios and private art collections, as well as exclusive guided tours of art spaces and exhibitions in Singapore. There will also be a series of panel discussions on contemporary art in the region, headlined by prominent personalities in art. The discussions will be made available online, so that audiences from all over the world can attend the event.

The thought leadership that S.E.A. Focus offers on contemporary art in Southeast Asia will be further bolstered by a new segment on its website featuring new or unpublished essays by art experts to invigorate discourse on art in Southeast Asia. Its editorial offering will also include interviews with participating gallerists, artists and leaders in the industry. Founder and director of ROH Projects, Junior Tirtadji says: “The previous edition of S.E.A. Focus really brought together, and in conversation, some of the most important voices in the region on art from Southeast Asia. This crucial hub for dialogue also kickstarts the art calendar in January and it is the primary motivation for us to return to exhibit in 2021.”

Similarly, Gajah Gallery’s director Jasdeep Sandhu says: “Many fairs within the region are set up with a clear commercial interest in mind, with a plethora of galleries and large-scale visual installations to draw crowds. However, S.E.A. Focus takes a very different approach, with the focus being on fostering conversations, education and engagement. The platform has a very strong outreach programme, with many discussions and conversations between prominent artists, patrons, curators, historians and institutions, highlighting Singapore’s strength as a hub city for the arts in Southeast Asia.”

Project director of S.E.A. Focus and executive director of STPI Emi Eu says: “Pulling off a major showcase of contemporary art in these unprecedented times is challenging, but with the support of the art community in Southeast Asia, we are thrilled to be able to launch a new edition of S.E.A. Focus that pushes boundaries. The integrated onsite and online art experience allows S.E.A. Focus to become a global meeting place where collectors, artists, galleries and the public can engage with one another. We look forward to welcoming visitors, online and in-person, to S.E.A. Focus 2021, and celebrating the best of contemporary art in Southeast Asia with them.

S.E.A. Focus Digital 2021 runs digitally from 20th January 2021, and S.E.A. Focus Curated from 20th to 31st January 2021 at #01-05, 39 Keppel Road, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Singapore 089065. For more information, visit the website here

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