Payal Uttam | Vanguards & Visionaries

Payal Uttam | Vanguards & Visionaries

26 Nov 2020 Gallery

Singapore is transforming into a hotbed of creativity. Not only is it a nexus for South East Asian contemporary art, the bustling port city is also home to a growing number of talented artists, curators, patrons and dealers


Audrey Yeo, Yeo Workshop

Singapore may have a reputation for being straight-laced and predictable, but local gallerist Audrey Yeo sees the city in a di!erent light. ‘We aren’t shackled by traditional ways,’ she says. ‘"e art scene is so new; it keeps changing. It has potential.’ Since she opened her eponymous gallery in Gilman Barracks, a former British military facility turned arts venue, she’s become known for her bold exhibition programming. ‘Art shouldn’t be a directive from the market,’ she says. ‘I don’t want to dumb it down and underestimate people here.’ Among the passionate dealers in the city, Yeo is known for championing home-grown talent. Almost half of her roster of artists comprises Singaporean names ranging from young multimedia artist Sarah Choo Jing to the late Solamalay Namasivayam, a pioneering artist known for his expressive sketches of nudes. Yeo says she gravitates towards artists who have a social message, like Indonesian activist artist Maryanto, whose dramatic murals and charcoal drawings explore issues such as poverty, pollution and politics. While the citywide lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic forced the gallery to shut temporarily, Yeo remains optimistic. ‘I’m relishing this time to dig deep and try to discover a new model for the gallery. It’s our job to continue to make art relevant and valuable.’