Affordable Art Fair in April to return with new director at the helm

The new and old directors of the Affordable Art Fair: Mr Alan Koh and Ms Camilla Hewitson.
The new and old directors of the Affordable Art Fair: Mr Alan Koh and Ms Camilla Hewitson.PHOTO: ST FILE

Marketing manager Alan Koh takes over from Camilla Hewitson, who moves to regional role

The April edition of the popular Affordable Art Fair will return with a new director at the helm.

Mr Alan Koh, who was the marketing manager from the first edition here in 2010, takes the top job in Singapore while previous director Camilla Hewitson moves to a key regional role overseeing the fair in Hong Kong, Singapore and, soon, Seoul.

On the changes, Ms Hewitson called them "a natural progression" as the Affordable Art Fair brand grows in Asia.

The Singapore fair now has two editions - in April and November. The Hong Kong fair is into its third year. Ms Hewitson said while there are no other expansion plans for South-east Asia, the fair will make its debut in Seoul in September.

In a media statement, Mr Will Ramsay, founder and chief executive of the global Affordable Art Fair, said: "Alan has brought a lot more to the fair. He has a great natural flair, amazing drive and excellent leadership."

At a media lunch at Duxton Hotel yesterday, Ms Hewitson said: "Alan is someone everyone looks up to for guidance. He has been with us from the start and has led a small team to pull off an event of this magnitude."

She added that he has played "a pivotal role" in growing the fair to become a "not-to-be-missed" event in Singapore's packed visual arts calendar.

Mr Koh, 32, started his career in the art industry when he was appointed marketing executive at Sotheby's Institute of Art here. A St Joseph's Institution alumnus, he has a diploma in positive psychology.

On his plans for the fair, he said he hopes to "build on existing relationships and partnerships while looking at new ways of doing things and moving forward".

When the fair returns at the F1 Pit Building from April 17 to 19 - with a private viewing on April 16 - expect to see 30 new galleries in the list of 70.

Among the highlights will be a showcase of contemporary artworks by 50 artists from all over the world to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday. The pieces, priced at $500 each, are being selected from an open call that received close to 200 submissions, and will be displayed on the SG50 Feature Wall.

For the first time, the fair will also feature Artist in Residence, where two artists' studios will be re-created to give visitors a look into the artists' lives.

Mr Koh said: "We have taken into consideration all the feedback we received last year. What we are presenting next month is a smaller, more intimate fair."

Over the years, the fair has grown in size and scale and there have been regular tweaks. In November 2010, 50 galleries took part and there were 9,500 visitors and sales of $1.75 million. Last November's edition, with 108 galleries, closed with 18,200 visitors and a record $5 million in sales.

deepikas@sph.com.sg