Discover Singapore’s Next Emerging Artists at ION

Chong Yanhong
Over the last four years, the Young Talent Programme, which is jointly organized each year by the Affordable Art Fair Singapore and ION Art partnership, has helped emerging artists from Singapore, and it counts amongst its alumni several successful artists.

Following their participation Alecia Neo has exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum while Lavender Chang has been included in group shows with Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York and at Mizuma Gallery in Singapore, and Zhang Fuming is preparing for a solo exhibition with AC43 Gallery (previously Art Commune Gallery). Furthermore, well-known Japanese collector Daisuke Miyatsu, dubbed the “salary-man collector, has selected work by Hilmi Johandi for his collection, and one of last year’s winners, Ezekiel Wong Kei Win, is soon to opening a group show at Mizuma Gallery in Singapore.

The aim of the annual program is to recognize, nurture, and promote three or four artists in Southeast Asia through a solo show for each artist curated by ION Art Gallery curator Seah Tzi-Yan. Each of the selected artists is given eight to 10 months to create works that are finally presented at ION with each artist given a dedicated space.

The four artists selected in 2015/2016 — Chong Yanhong, Holeng, Justin Lim, and Yo Jian Long — are all Singaporeans and their works can now be seen at ION Art gallery at the ION mall. 

Seah notes this year’s works present an introspective look at beauty, loss, and the impermanence of things.

With “In This Too Shall Pass,” Chong Yanhong presents a new body of work that moves away from her usual medium of charcoal and uses instead image transfer on canvas inspired by the ever changing landscape of Singapore: After multi-layering several images of a building, she starts pulling and tearing the paper as an expression of the shifting landscape. 
Over the last 10 years, Holeng has been studying and documenting old houses in Southeast Asia and how they are slowly disappearing. With “Old Dutch House,” the artist presents an installation that includes photography and video installations.

Meanwhile, Justin Lim found inspiration in the traditional Vanitas for his hyper-realistic graphite and charcoal drawings of decomposing orchids that reflect on the transience of life in “Beyond Bittersweet,” while Yeo Jian Long chose white pen and oil on wood for his nocturnal landscape painting, “A Quiet Beauty.” 

Justin Lim

Selection Committee member Ben Hampe noted the program “has proven itself to be a key entry point for many young artists onto the Singapore art scene” and describes it as “a bastion of encouragement.”

Acknowledging the program had given him a confidence boost, Ezekiel added the program had offered him the opportunity to push “his work to the next level.” 

Yo Jian Long

The Young Talent Programme Winners’ Solo Exhibitions at ION Art runs until September 20.