Shuyin Yang, Fair Director of Art SG, believes that art is democratic and for everyone. Get to know this member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community and get inspired
“Art is, quite simply, the story of humanity.”
In the eyes of Shuyin Yang, art represents a zeitgeist for different eras. She believes that one day, our descendants will look back at the artwork in our museums, galleries and fairs and recognise it as a testament to our present moment and the lives we lead, the emotions we had and the transformations we went through – just like we do now with the people who came before us.
If you couldn’t tell by now, Yang has a deep love for art, and befittingly so. She is the Fair Director of Art SG, a major international art fair that focuses on Singapore and the Southeast Asia region. The event will see over 150 of the top galleries around the world coming to Singapore in January 2023. Though she is currently surrounded by her passion, it didn’t come without risk. As a former employee of IBM, she had to give up a secure job in the IT industry to go into the arts, which was a volatile line of work due to Singapore’s unestablished art scene at the time. Today, as the fair director of Southeast Asia’s largest art fair as well as Asia Pacific’s biggest art fair launch in a decade, Yang has not looked back since.
Name one common misconception about your industry that you’d change if you could.
That the appreciation of art is only for wealthy or educated people. Like everything sensorial, such as music, food and beauty, art is democratic and for everyone.
What is your idea of success?
My idea of success is when I’ve built and created something from ground up, watch it take on a life of its own and thrive. The best part of being in my job is seeing an artwork go to its perfect collector and home – it’s like matchmaking a couple falling in love. I enjoy creating the conditions for others on the frontline to succeed. When I see an art gallery having a fantastic art fair, selling well, meeting lots of great collectors who will enjoy the art they’ve acquired for a long long time, and knowing we had a key role to play in creating this success for them, this is my definition of having contributed something valuable to the ecosystem.
How does your work align with your values?
I believe it is very important to have empathy in all aspects of life. Working in art permits more reflection and compassion, even within the confines of a day-to-day office environment.
Editor’s note: Get to know the full Thought Leaders community here.
Photography by Sayher Heffernan
Styling by Wei Lun Tok
Hair & Makeup by Angel Gwee
Credits: Chanel Beauty and L’Oréal Hair Professional; wool top by Hèrmes