Asia's Art Hub or Hype?

by Soo Eelee

Singapore is hitting the road and rapidly progressing to become Asia’s next Art Hub, or is it not? Better Than Brunch spent an afternoon catching up with the young art practitioner, curator and educator, Daryl Goh, to find out more about the realities of the local art scene and why we need to keep innovating and improving the art culture in Singapore.


Is Singapore's art scene ready to be the next Asia Art Hub? How do we fare against other Asian countries like HK and Japan?

I think Singapore is on the right track and given the years ahead, there is a possibility of us becoming the next Asia Art Hub. I do not really see much of a comparison with HK or Japan because the respective Art Hub has their own unique positioning and branding.


HK and Japan are good examples to follow but we should not envision ourselves to be carbon copies of other countries.

In your opinion, what are we lacking and how can we can encourage and influence the Art movement in Singapore so as to reach the goal of becoming Asia's next Art Hub?

In my humble opinion, we are lacking spontaneity. Art does not need to be helmed in galleries or museums. Instead, it should be champion as a way of life.


This embracement can shore up our vibrancy in the ways we deal with signage, public basking, graffiti/vandalism and performances. It will be great if we could do away with the norms and be less afraid to stand out from them !

With such a wide portfolio, juggling different aspects of the Art scene has definitely proved to be less of a challenge for you. Can we know how different it is to be an Artist versus taking the back seat and overseeing projects as a Curator?

There are a number of readings that talks about the Artist as a Curator, and the Curator as an Artist. Honestly speaking, I do not see a big difference in both practices. Nowadays, Art projects are taking shape in alternative forms and not just confined to a painting.


Its cognitive processes involve campaigns, spaces, time and experiences. Both roles are converging, while their trajectories become complicated. We are in an era where the definition of an Artist/Curator comes pretty much into question.

So we heard that you are also a lecturer at Lasalle, what encouraged you to pursue this career path?

I am a part-time lecturer at Lasalle. I enjoy educating and more importantly, inspiring young, “new blood” about art's goodness. Sowing artistic seeds fuel my desire to continue teaching, especially students who found enthusiasm and joy in arts through my classes.

If you weren't pursuing your career in the Arts scene, where would you be and why?

I honestly do not know! I have been dwelling in the Art scene since I was a child as my mum is a Designer. I truly cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

In recent months, there have been plenty of F&B establishments incorporating arts and design into their concept, such as the Artistry, Bar 22 and Gillman Barracks. From your point of view, what are some of the positives and negatives of such a trend?

As art is interdisciplinary, this trend is only natural. Art can be incorporated into the plans of corporate organizations, restaurants, banks, science, and any other kinds of establishments. I do hope more of them start sprouting out across the region.


Positives: The lay man gets to experience Art in his ordinary hangouts.

Negatives: Art may disintegrate into a secondary/aesthetic element in society as there is a high possibility of this trend expanding faster than galleries and museums. High Art movements and discursive dialogues may lose its lead in the industry.

What are the upcoming happenings our readers should look out for the next twelve months in the Singapore Art scene? Also, what will you be working on?

Everyone has been waiting to see what the National Gallery Singapore would bring when they open next year. I foresee a huge opening with good programmes and peripheral festivals that will be worth keeping a lookout.


I will continue to expand my body of works while being actively involved in curating this year's Noise Singapore - The Apprenticeship Programme, at the Singapore Art Museum. It is due to open in the second half of the year!

Complete this sentence, "Art is to me like the _ is to the _"

"Art is to me like the nail is to the hammer"

Daryl Goh is an Art practitioner and Educator based in Singapore. Since young, he has practiced both traditional and digital art media. His work has been featured in various publications including print, web and broadcast. Currently a member of the Singapore Contemporary Young Artists, he also co-founded Mug Collective, a group dedicated to curatorial discourse and exhibitionary practices.


Find out more about his works at