GOFY, a Singapore-grown creative community uniting urban artists from Southeast Asian (SEA), is all set to present the second edition of For Art’s Sake (FAS), with artworks installed in 21 commercial venues across the island.
Spurred by the success of the inaugural edition in 2021, GOFY has gathered 63 emerging artists from six countries with a total contribution of 80 art prints to do a “creative takeover with SEA urban art”.
Staying true to their ethos, they have brought the gallery to people by melding the discovery of art with their daily rituals, whether that is grabbing a coffee, exercising, or winding down over a cocktail.
This conscious effort to take art out of the white cube or conventional gallery space is aimed at offering both enthusiasts and those who are curious a more approachable and accessible encounter with the works.
All the prints are also available for purchase at affordable prices via a QR code in each artwork’s label.
“FAS began with a desire to fill the gaps in Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar by providing an alternative to what was available in terms of exhibition formats and the ways in which people acquire art, said Tiffany Soh, Co-Founder and Curator, and Akanksha Arun, Marketing and Partnerships Manager. “We believe audiences have an appetite for a novel approach and are more willing to engage when the environment is familiar and comfortable.
“GOFY has always championed SEA creativity and its diverse voices. It is our hope that GOFY’s activities will encourage more people to discover urban art from this unique region and to support the careers of these young talents by owning a piece that lives with them in their home or other spaces for a long time to come.”
For Art’s Sake 2023
FAS 2023 takes place from 14 October 2023 to 28 January 2024. The multi-site exhibition is spread out across 21 F&B, lifestyle and entertainment venues such as The Projector X: No Spoilers Bar at Orchard Cineleisure, Two Men Bagel House in Holland Village and Joo Chiat, Offtrack near Boat Quay, Palm Ave Float Club in Lavender, and the Trapeze Rec. Club in Tanjong Pagar.
By infiltrating these spaces, GOFY intends to reach a broader audience, especially those who may become new converts to art appreciation, and to make the acts of viewing and acquiring art more approachable and less intimidating.
Similar to the first edition, FAS 2023 features new urban art creations that reimagine iconic works from the Western canon across art movements and history.
Inviting emerging artists from GOFY’s extended community, contributions came in from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and The Philippines, culminating in a selection of works that reflects the pulse of the present moment in SEA.
Viewing the final 80 artworks in their entirety, GOFY was able to identify three narrative threads–celebrating cultural roots, sharing youth concerns, and voicing opinions about the region’s cultural landscape.
These pieces were made exclusively for FAS and encompass mediums including digital illustration, painting, mixed media, and photography, presented in the form of art prints. Vibrant, colourful, and more often than not, mischievous and tongue-in-cheek, the works play on the reference artworks’ recognisability as an entry point.
Matching this idea of accessibility, the prints fall within a modest price range with digital prints going for SGD$80 and Giclée Fine Art Prints for SGD$300. These can be purchased easily from GOFY’s website, lowering barriers for budding collectors.
Celebrating Cultural Roots
The artworks above exalt SEA’s cultural pride, serving as heartfelt tributes to its vibrant spirit and stories. Capturing the essence of the region’s diverse and colourful tapestry, they invite viewers to explore the harmonious fusion of old and new, past and present.
In Sandy Ang’s (SG) humorous depiction, The Creation of Morning Magic, the image of god in Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam is replaced by a coffee shop uncle who offers iced coffee as an elixir to infuse vitality into our everyday lives.
Halik by Koalanov (PH) is an unabashed tribute to Filipino pop culture, swapping out Gustav Klimt’s lovers in The Kiss with icons of local cinema in what appears to be a still taken from a Videoke lyric video. An homage to the beauty and chaos of her home city, PRAWR (TH) shares her interpretation of what a last supper in Bangkok looks and feels like, evoking the smells and tastes of street food and an atmosphere of intoxicating energy.
Sharing Youth Concerns
Many of the artworks capture the spirit, dreams, and struggles of SEA youth, inspiring a deeper understanding and empathy for the aspirations and challenges faced by this dynamic generation.
Two pieces inspired by the same reference artwork, The Scream by Edvard Munch, illustrate the anguish of city-dwellers living in contemporary metropolises. Hot, humid, heavy & harsh by ke ai de ke (MY) depicts the confluence of heat, traffic, noise and congestion in Kuala Lumpur, while I Scream for AQI by Salmoncartoon (ID) laments the poor state of Jakarta’s air quality and people taking selfies against a backdrop of polluted skies.
Hyper-consumerism is the subject of Jill Tran’s (VN) Sale (of the) Man, which captures the weariness of wage-earners in a bubble of rampant consumption within the apple of surrealist René Magritte’s The Son of Man. Another reimagination of a Magritte, All eyes on me by The Next Most Famous Artist (SG) explores the intricate dance between a desire for recognition and the discomfort of pervasive judgment in Singapore.
Voicing Opinions About the Region’s Cultural Landscape
These visual dialogues share opinions and perspectives on the ever-evolving and complex cultural landscape of SEA. They address themes of tradition and modernity, unity, identity, and change. Using Banksy’s very identifiable work The Flower Thrower as a point of departure, It’s Just A Fckn Breakfast by Cawand Dien (MY) is a hilarious clarion call for Singaporeans and Malaysians to bridge our differences and recognise our shared heritage in our passionate pursuit for the perfect Nasi Lemak.
Food is also central to JC Lo’s (PH) Pares, which takes its name from a Filipino braised beef dish. Unlike the genteel women in Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey, the women in Pares are about to share a meal after a hard day’s work, owing to a greater female presence in the workforce including traditionally masculine roles in the transportation industry.
Since 2019, GOFY has dedicated itself to empowering SEA’s rich creative cultures and making them more accessible through various projects that connect consumers to artists. Its many collaborations aim to feed the passion of urban artists and seek to unite brands and creators who are hungry for a fresh approach in the way creative works are produced, exhibited, and commercially distributed.
A firm believer in bringing art closer to the people by weaving it in as an element of daily life, its past projects include Space Out!, which brought immersive Art x Tech experiences to the heartland; Kampong G(e)lamorous, a hybrid art installation intended to educate visitors about Kampong Glam’s storied history; and #QRArt, a community initiative sharing SafeEntry poster templates with artistic interventions to make contact tracing more fun.
All of these were made available to the public for free.
GOFY offers an alternative to artists and consumers by eschewing the conventional gallery model and the white cube. It has a community of more than 200+ emerging artists all over SEA working in a plethora of mediums, affording them the flexibility and nimbleness to envision different exhibition formats and project scopes.
By utilising strategic partnerships, it is able to reach new audience segments and expand its footprint to adjacent communities in design, music, and nightlife.
An upcoming partnership tied to FAS 2023 is with the AXEAN Festival, SEA’s first intraregional music festival featuring over 50 live acts, at Goodman Arts Centre on 28 and 29 October 2023. Tickets are free with registration here: https://axeanfestival2023.peatix.com/
Through its exhibitions, infiltrations and other initiatives, GOFY aims to build a growing community, not just of artists, but also including advocates, and collaborators or partners, all connected by a deep enthusiasm and affection for SEA’s diverse and multi-talented creative scene.
For Art’s Sake 2023
A creative takeover with Southeast Asian urban art
14 October 2023 – 28 January 2024
Google Map with pins of all venues: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1PVkG18WfcqSWIBwIKg6IpZai_C2GJwI&ll=1.325468287535921%2C103.86246480000001&z=12
(The artworks will only be available online for purchase just before the launch on 14 October.)
Complete List of Artists & Artworks: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wjF8-oPHp5piQa1eSYxiwXR5RMNQGkD2/view
GOFY is an independent Singapore-grown creative community that discovers, celebrates and unites artists from the Southeast Asian region. Through their exhibitions, infiltrations and other initiatives, GOFY aims to build a community of artists, advocates, and collaborators who champion Southeast Asia’s diverse and multi-talented creative scene.