From the 10th March, the trendy neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru will be enriched by the opening of a new art gallery specialising in Vietnamese art, the up and coming ArtBlue Studio.
An interview with Phuong Nguyen, founder of ArtBlue Studio.
How did you start ArtBlue Studio?
I started working in art 14 years ago, in Vietnam; I was the assistant to an international art collector. It immediately became a passion more than a job.
When I arrived in Singapore nine years ago, I immediately started to meet the local art community and share my love for art. I soon became an art consultant, bringing Vietnamese artists’ work to Singapore galleries and advising collectors. I also sourced masterpieces for the Singapore Art Museum, which was a fantastic experience.
Four years ago, my husband, who has always been an art enthusiast, left his banking career to join me and embrace a career in art. Together we have participated in numerous international art fairs worldwide and organised regular exhibitions in Singapore. Today, we are blessed to be successful and recognised as the Vietnamese art specialists in the region.
ArtBlue Studio is well established and successful. What made you decide to open a full time gallery?
Apart from short-term exhibitions, up till now we have been able to show our collection by appointment only. But the interest we are receiving is growing so rapidly, and simultaneously the Vietnamese contemporary creations are becoming so impressive, that we believe now is the right time to do more. Our new gallery will be a forum where up and coming artists and Singapore art lovers will meet.
Why Tiong Bahru?
We fell in love with Tiong Bahru! It is such a unique neighbourhood, with a fantastic feel of community, people interested in sharing their life and passion. It is full of great cafes, shops and restaurants, but until now relatively little art. It is the perfect place for us to make a difference.
Will you only specialise in Vietnamese art?
We know the Vietnamese artists extremely well, most of them personally, and we believe Vietnamese talents need more exposure to present their work. So we will continue to keep our main focus on Vietnamese art. In the long term, we will also be exploring the art of the rest of the Indochinese peninsula, which shares the same heritage and has some very interesting emerging artists.
What is making Vietnamese art so unique?
Vietnamese art is the result of a fantastic integration of different cultures. Of Chinese origin, it was exposed to Hindu and Khmer influences, and later, during the Colonial period, to French influence. Later still came American, Russian and Eastern European inspirations.
Faithful to this tradition of openness, Indochinese art today is one of the best places to see world cultures and trends reconcile. We are seeing the result of this unique artistic situation in today’s creativity. The international art community is beginning to pay a lot of attention to Vietnamese art, particularly to the dynamic work being produced by the younger generation of artists.
Venue: ArtBlue Studio
Address: 23 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168652
Hours: From 10th March: Tuesday – Sunday 10:30am – 8pm