For just under S$500, one could get an art piece such as photographic prints or water colour paintings. Still too steep? “Colours Palette on White”, an acrylic painting by Chua Say Hua, is only $100, unlike many other acrylic paintings that are on sale from $400 to $1000.

Ever wanted to own a piece of an original artwork that caught your eye? Truth is, it’s possible to bring home an entry-level work, like a screen print or etching, at an affordable price.

Held in the 22,000 sq m F1 Pit Building at the corner of Singapore’s Central Business District, the Affordable Art Fair (AAF), in its 2nd year running, drew a crowd of 13,500 visitors over 3 days from Nov 18-20.

As the name suggests, the AAF aims to bring contemporary art within the reach of the general public. With artwork for sale from $100 to $10,000 and 75 per cent of them costing below $7,500, it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to start an art collection. This year, 78 art galleries participated in the annual event, a 30 per cent increase from last year.

There were a variety of artworks at the fair like sculptures, acrylic paintings, photos painted on ceramics, collages and also typography works.

Apart from Singapore, the fairs also take place in Amsterdam, Brussels, Los Angeles, Milan, Melbourne, and New York, with Singapore playing host to the 1st edition in Asia. According to their official website, AAF has, for the 2nd year in a row, been nominated one of the United Kingdom’s coolest brands by an independent council and more than 2,500 members of the British public. It’s certainly garnered a lot of support since its Oct 1999 launch in London’s Battersea Park.

 Incessant chatter from enthusiastic art aficionados of mostly adults, filled the air as exhibitors went about explaining the various artworks that lined the walls and tables in the exhibition area.

There were even students who were at the fair doing assignments and examining the various artworks, some of which were by world-renowned celebrity artists such as Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami, and up-and-coming Singapore stars like Justin Lee.

The Singapore edition of the Affordable Art Fair attracted about 13,500 visitors, which far exceeded the expected 12,000 visitors and total sales was $3.05 million.  This was a more than 40 percent increase in visitors and over a 70 percent surge in sales over last year’s inaugural event.

The art scene in Singapore is developing slowly but surely, with events like the Singapore Arts Festival, Art Stage, and the Singapore Art Show. More and more art galleries such as Art Facet and Astrid Dahl are popping up, and with a little government funding, the art scene in Singapore could go far. Art schools like LASALLE College of the Arts, School of the Arts (SOTA) and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA) are establishments that reflect government support.

Despite this, Singaporeans might come across as conservative when it comes to appreciating, or even approaching, art. Gary Sng, director of Collectors Contemporary, said that Singaporeans are “too narrow-minded”.

“I think it’s the way we grew up,” he told The UrbanWire. “Maybe it’s that semi-totalitarian kind of upbringing we had that has taught us to be this way. I think even the government is playing a part by telling Singaporeans that it’s time to change a little bit and be a bit more open minded. And I think we will, eventually.”

Gary Sng, director of Collectors Contemporary

 And according to Motti Abramovitz, owner of art gallery Bruno Art Group, the AAF’s part of the change that’s gradually transforming the arts scene here.

“The AAF’s a lighthearted event,” he said. “People don’t feel intimidated when they come here and view the artwork, unlike the atmosphere at exclusive art galleries that cater to the more privileged. We see a lot of young people and children and it’s a good way to introduce art to them. Baby steps.”

Photo credits to Noel Teo