If you haven’t already heard, an exciting art exhibition is happening right now at ION orchard’s art gallery. Many would jump to the conclusion that the artwork may be well above their budget — but prices are reasonable, with some of the artwork going at just $10.
Pameran Poskad, which translates to postcard exhibition in Malay, features several postcard-sized artworks.
The artworks on display are available for purchase on a first come first serve basis. The works may be postcard-sized, but you’ll see that the artists employ various mediums to express their creativity.
Some of the artwork featured include accessories, fabric sculptures, and even ceramic bowls — as long as they fit into the postcard dimensions.
The exhibition was founded by Japanese couple Tamae and Eitaro, who moved to Singapore some 16 years ago.
The couple, who hail from the Osaka, Japan, were inspired by art exhibitions there and decided to start one of their own in Singapore. Tamae and Eitaro founded the art collective Keyakismos, which also worked on a book about the art and culture of local HDB homes.
Tamae had heard of similar initiatives in Japan and decided to bring it to Singapore.
“We sensed that a small sized artworks exhibition would be the perfect match for Singapore, because of the diversity in terms of culture, people, and many more, in such a small country.”
Pameran Poskad, which is essentially a collection of postcard-sized artworks, will feature some 5,000 works from over 500 artists, hobbyists and laymen during 15 – 24 June this year.
The number of entries grew steadily over the years; starting with 132 participants in 2005 , growing to over 400 participants in 2012. This year, over 500 artists will have their work displayed.
“The number of participating artists slowly but surely grew over the years,” recalls Tamae. However, the team soon realised that 500 artists was the maximum number of participants they could handle, as a the organisers of Pameran Poskad were a lean team.
Overcoming Initial Struggles
According to Tamae, challenges mostly revolved around the logistics of the project.
“We remember in 2005, when the show had already started, the door already opened, we were still hanging the artworks!” she recalls, illustrating the mad rush they faced during the first run of the art exhibition.
Tamae is candid in relating the early struggles she and her team faced while preparing for Pameran Poskad.
“We were so bad at handling digital transactions and computer-related processes ,” she explains, adding that they “actually met all 132 participants to receive the participation fee and gave them the plastic sleeves in person!”
She elaborates that as they do not take commission from the artwork sold, the first three runs were a financial struggle —during the first run, the couple made a loss from the exhibition as the application fee was just $20.
However, Tamae and Eitaro were not daunted in the least by their financial loss. “It is a very good memory still,” comments Tamae, explaining that the loss did not deter them from continuing the project.
“We saw the overwhelming positive response from people and those who are not really in art industry coming down to see the show! That was really exciting for us as our aim is to invite everyone to art creation, appreciation, and collection.”
Art is for everyone and anyone
Unlike conventional art exhibitions, Pameran Poskad does not curate the submissions. No submissions are rejected, and anyone can have their work displayed as long as they submit work within the deadline and pay the application fee, which is kept affordable at $50.
“Not choosing the artworks to be showcased in a deliberate choice in curation,” declares Tamae.
She adds that the organisers hope “to convey is that there are the differences in the expression of creativity and that means differences in people. Some like to paint flowers and some like to draw dark thoughts.”
“To see them as they are makes us think honestly about how or who we are. Another rule in curation we are setting is the postcard size; we hope, by doing this, to challenge all creators to go beyond this limitations.”
Tamae and Eitaro had also conducted art workshops leading up to the Pameran Poskad exhibition, and they also invited local batik master Tumadi Patri, to conduct a batik making workshop.
Realising that Tamae must have pored through several submissions over the years, I wonder if she has a favourite piece. She shares that she’s seen many memorable ones, but is particularly fond of a submission from a friend of hers.
As he is a typical businessman, she was pleasantly surprised to see that he had painted something ‘”very unique, going beyond our expectations.”
“His artwork really encouraged us to call in non-artists into Pameran Poskad to create something.”
Pameran Poskad 2018
For the sixth run of Pameran Poskad, Keyakismos teamed up with the Bold At Work team, a group of passionate, energetic twenty-somethings, who invested great effort in the preparation for the exhibition.
This year, both teams jointly applied for a grant from the National Arts Council, which allocated more budget for activities such as workshops leading up to the exhibition.
According to the folks at Bold At Work, the coordination process was not an easy one. Apart from coordinating submissions from both international and local artists, they had to deal with last-minute mail even when the deadline for submission was closed.
Though it was a hectic week of long hours, mail opening and data entry, they share that “it was very exciting, as it felt almost like the season for Christmas presents.”
The Pameran Poskad exhibition will be held at ION Orchard Art Gallery until 24 June 2018. At least 10% of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity organization, Beautiful People.
Find out more about Pameran Poskad here.