Art project: Singapore–Sweden 50 years of relations

In connection to holding the first ever Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit in Singapore in September, the Embassy of Sweden, Singapore presented the art exhibition ‘A fusion of Sweden and Singapore’ – in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Singapore and Sweden.

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Twelve pieces of art (double-mounted Plexiglas frames with a photo on one side and a painted version on the other) made in collaboration between the portraits/interiors/food photographer Anne Nyblaeus and artist Ingela Johansson was displayed inside the seminar hall for the participants to experience throughout the two-day summit.

Honoured to have been commissioned, well-known Swedish photographer Anne Nyblaeus said that they wanted to express their love and fascination of Singapore and its beautiful people, culture and architecture.

She personally knows the Ambassador couple very well and in turn she invited her dear friend, artist Ingela if she would like to join her in making the exhibition, and she liked the idea.

Anne had seen on of Ingela’s art exhibition, where there had been a mix photography and painting on images. “I thought that was a nice concept, and thought it would be much more fun to do the project together with a person who has painted on images, and lots of time constraint if I was to do everything oneself.”

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In this art project Ingela used acrylic and ink in her translations of the photograph into paintings.

“Painting on top of photographs is my niche as part of what I do as a full-time artist, so I was accustomed to transforming photography into painting. I do other things as well and exhibit around Asia.

“We made a synopsis of images, with the idea to use the Dala Horse as a connection to Sweden. That horse would the common thread throughout the works. It symbolises Sweden, and is very symbolic for Swedes, though maybe not for a foreigner. And I think internationally it is what is being seen in airports etc.; it’s for sale everywhere. So we thought of that as a very good Swedish connection to be a read thread throughout the exhibition, combined with the idea of a Swedish expat experiencing Singapore, in this case through our point of views,” explained the photographer.

“And we took the liberty of capturing the views of places that one feels attracted to; locations that mean as something special, and as we lived here we felt we knew some of these.”

They made 19 so not all made it to the exhibition.

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The horse was present in every motif and they made it sure the Dala Horse would interact with the environment.

“I like the image from Temple street very much with and Indian temple on the side and the holy cow, and then the horse just standing there in a corner as an observer.”

The art is for sale and they did get some interest from people attending the summit.

“I think there has been a lot of good response,” said Ingela at the closing of the summit.

“I agree, while I also believe that I had not expected to sell that much, since when one is here at the business summit one’s thoughts are focused on listening and learning,“ felt Anne and added: It’s also difficult to just walk up to people and talk about this when one feels that they are here for something else.”

The exhibition was a one-off event, but those interested in buying the pieces of artwork can contact the artists.

Anne and her husband have now moved back to Sweden but she hopes to keep a foothold in Asia.

Read more about the artists on their respective web sites: annenyblaeus.com, swedishartanddesign.com

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