Affordable Art Fair cancels upcoming 11th edition

The Affordable Art Fair has been credited with making art buying fun and accessible for mainstream audiences here.
The Affordable Art Fair has been credited with making art buying fun and accessible for mainstream audiences here.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Affordable Art Fair has cancelled its 11th edition. The fair, which was scheduled to be held at the F1 Pit Building in November, is the latest casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fair director Alan Koh told The Straits Times: "We as a fair feel responsible for taking care of our exhibitors, partners and visitors and therefore this decision to cancel November 2020 is to safeguard the interests of all of them in this uncertain time, and not to put them at risk, health wise and financially."

He added that more than 75 galleries had applied for this year's fair, not including those which were uncertain because of travel restrictions: "Almost all of these galleries like to rollover to 2021 and have a thirst for events/fairs like ours to be able to operate again."

While the physical fair has been cancelled, he noted that the fair has an online marketplace "where we help galleries sell art 365 days a year in the comfort of their own gallery, and to help galleries connect with art lovers from all over the world".

The fair's digital platform reaches out to 265,000 art lovers and 400,000 followers on social media in 10 countries. He added the fair is planning to leverage on this following: "We are in the midst of planning a new online initiative."

The fair, founded in London two decades ago by gallery owner Will Ramsay, came to Singapore in 2010, has been credited with making art buying fun and accessible for mainstream audiences here. In its first year, it attracted 9,500 visitors and sold $1.75 million worth of art. Last year's edition drew 13,000 visitors and rang up $3.4 million in sales.

The art scene here has been struggling with the effects of the circuit breaker. Veteran gallery Chan + Hori Contemporary closed its bricks and mortar gallery in June and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art announced plans to close its exhibition and studio spaces next year. Both venues were located at the Gillman Barracks arts enclave.