Picture this: The Tate established a research centre for Southeast Asian art in 2012 and now shows works by artists such as Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan from the Philippines.The Centre Pompidou in Paris is now collaborating with the National Gallery Singapore, and MoMA in NewYork has hired two curators who specialise in Asian art so that it can grow its collection. Asia has some of the biggest artists (Yayoi Kusama, Ai Weiwei and Liu Bolin), art fairs (Art Basel and Art Stage) and collectors (Wijono Tanoko and Pierre Chen) in the world. Internationally, everyone has taken notice, and in this issue, we place the focus firmly on the incredible talent in our backyard, so to speak.
Our cover star, Yayoi Kusama, has 12 of her works in the MoMA collection and is so sought after that she has four exhibitions showing globally this year. While art and fashion collaborations are by no means a new phenomenon, Kusama’s Louis Vuitton collection in 2012 put the spotlight on the Asian art world (ditto Takashi Murakami’s 13-year relationship with Louis Vuitton). Most recently, Singaporean artists Charles Loh, Teresa Lim and David Chan have been commissioned by Gucci; and young Singaporean star Yi Lin Juliana Ong has her prints on a Swatch.
The next Kusamas and Ais are already establishing their take on the world. We asked seven Asian artists to put their own spin on Singaporean icons for this issue-from the results, we predict it will not be long before we spot the works of our very own talents splashed across a monogrammed bag.
Watch this space.
—Claire Turrell, Project Editor