Gateway To Southeast Asia
A decade ago, there were no galleries in Singapore that promoted both modern and contemporary Southeast Asia art; they focused only on modern Singaporean art, contemporary Southeast Asian art or Chinese art, says Aniela Rahardja.
“As Singapore is considered by many to be the gateway for Southeast Asia, I felt that there was a need for an art gallery here that promotes just that. I wanted to promote Southeast Asian art outside the region and I felt that awareness of modern art is important before appreciating contemporary art.” And thus in 2009, Element Art Space was born, with Indonesian-born Rahardja, who trained as a chemical engineer before obtaining two art degrees, as gallery owner and director.
As the gallery grew, an exchange between Asian and Western contemporary art naturally appeared – the gallery continues to promote Southeast Asian art to the region and abroad while Rahardja, who has lived in the US and UK, also offers a consultancy service, sourcing and commissioning artists and advising Asian clients on Western contemporary works.
One of the gallery’s most popular modern artists is the late Chen Wen Hsi, considered to be one of Singapore art’s founding fathers. From the other side of the world is Colombian Fernando Botero, whose sculptures of voluptuous figures are dotted around the island.