SINGAPORE ART BOOK FAIR
As the light dimmed on Singapore’s trendiest spot for contemporary art, Gillman Barracks welcomed the Singapore Art Book Fair for its second year running. Throughout the evening, a bustle of visitors were welcomed with the smiles of volunteers and visionaries all supporting BooksActually in their mission to drive the existence of art books and zines in Singapore.
Complemented with workshops, film screenings and a live performance from Singapore’s own The Observatory on the official opening night, Singapore Art Book Fair showcased a spectacular range of creativity. The abundance of prints varied from internationally renowned magazines to self-bound Singaporean titles and a collaborative mural from Speak Cryptic. At the centre of the location, their first installation in colour allowed participants of all ages to use paint, crayons and artistic confidence to bring life to the piece.
As guests enjoyed the selection of food and beverages in the form of South East Sliders and Papa Palheta’s specialty coffee outside, crowds grew around the performance area where Kenny Leck, founder of BooksActually, welcomed and introduced The Observatory. The Singaporean band sent ‘noise, rock, and melancholy’ rumbling through the spines and filled the Centre for Contemporary Art at Gillman Barracks with a rich ambience of excitement.
As the music filled the high, spacious air, we spoke to many of the individual exhibitors who told us what the Singapore Art Book Fair meant to them. “I just think it’s awesome! It’s a fantastic platform for people to understand the variation of art books in Singapore. I grew up in a country where the visibility and recognition for this type of art was low and we’re all very thankful for the opportunity to have an event which brings us all together.” said Photovoice.sg, a non-profit organisation which gives a voice to untold stories through collections of photography.
Beside them, Kitchen Label presented a table of beautifully intricate cover designs for musicians including Japanese composer Haruka Nakamura and Singaporean ASPIDISTRAFLY who stood beside, also enjoying the collection of art books and magazines at the fair.
Many of the stalls combined their pieces with interaction, allowing visitors of the fair to be a part of the art in more ways than one. Sarah & Schooling, a graphic design firm known for their cover works with Math Paper Press, sold both their books and book-binding sets they had created for the fair. Hands-on workshops with partners such as The Redundant Shop were snapped up quickly on the busy first day.
“There are so many more people than we expected, and a huge amount more than last year’s event. It’s great to know that the word is getting out and we are blessed to be working with such talented people who have helped us make this year’s Singapore Art Book Fair such a success. If you’d have told me 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that it would be possible for us to create such a popular event with international and home-grown art. " said Renée Ting of BooksActually.
Photos by Chloë Long & Yap Yen