Nona Garcia, Geraldine Javier and Natee Utarit
Singapore Art Museum
Time of Others at Singapore Art Museum. This exhibition was a collaborative survey of Southeast Asian contemporary art from 4 different museums in Asia Pacific. The works ranged from photography, video, painting and installations and explored current social and political issues that often transcend geographical boundaries.
We started collecting like most people, by filling the walls of our new home with art. Our parents collected art as well so we grew up with the sense that art completes a home. In 2005-2006, we began to see amazing works by young artists from the Philippines like Geraldine Javier, Yasmin Sison, and Nona Garcia that were very different from the colorful expressionism that characterised the art of our parents. These paintings were stark, gritty, and mysterious. We are lucky that we began buying these works when few collectors appreciated them because the rest of the market has since caught on.
Initially, we focused on collecting art from our own country as we understood the underlying historical and cultural influences and the local art market. Living in Singapore, however, enabled us to be exposed to other regional artists. It became hard to resist buying works as we grew in our understanding of the art of the region. The first non-Filipino work that we bought was a painting by Indonesian artist Jumaldi Alfi called "Paint for Me #1 in 2010. From that moment on, we expanded our collection to focus on Southeast Asia and now we have works from Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore. Having said that, we also have a very very small collection of works from Japanese artists because we love their stark minimalist aesthetic.
We are fortunate that we have similar tastes in art. About 99% of the time we will agree on what works to buy. On those rare occasions that we don't agree, we will pass on the work. A collection reflects the personalities, values and the specific cultural milieu of the people who formed it. Ours definitely grew out of a shared passion and our growth together as a couple and as collectors. We are constantly learning about Southeast [Asian] contemporary art and are very interested in understanding the practices of the artists we follow. This informs our purchases but also enriches our lives through friendships with people in the art world -- artists, gallerists, and fellow collectors.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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