Beauty Brains and Blazing A Trail (or BB&BAT for short) is a series of interviews with successful young women.
They’ve got the looks, the smarts, and they’re great at what they do. In this series of interviews, we speak to inspiring Singaporean women who are blazing a trail in their respective fields. Phone numbers not included, sorry boys.
BB&BAT #2: Audrey Yeo
Don’t be fooled by her porcelain doll looks. This 31-year-old accountant-turned-gallerist is turning heads in Singapore’s art scene. Her brand new contemporary art gallery, Yeo Workshop, has Gillman Barracks all aflutter, and her other baby – Arnoldii Arts Club – is the first of its kind here. Here’s her story.
Editor: Your contemporary art gallery is straightforward enough. But what is Arnoldii Arts Club?
AY: Arnoldii Arts Club is a private members-only association which provides exclusive access to the burgeoning art scene in Singapore and the international contemporary art world. There are half- or full-day courses, events and specialist lectures, where members can meet reknowned international artists, art professionals and academics.The courses fall under one of three categories: art history, art production, and art market. (ie the buying and selling of art).
Editor: Tell us about your background and upbringing.
AY: I was born and raised here but left Singapore when I was 16. In the last 15 years I’ve lived in Sydney, LA, New York [ed: where she worked at big five accounting firm KPMG] and London [ed: where she ran Galerie 8, another contemporary art gallery]. So I am somewhat of a nomad! I’ve picked up a community of people like me along the way. My closest friends are Brazilian, Italian, American, Chinese, etc. And yet we all have this shared experience of being very international. Someone called me a “local expat” the other day, and I thought it was quite apt.
Editor: What made you come back to Singapore?
AY: Personally, It was bound to happen eventually as this is home. I was living a very fun and fast but superficial life abroad, filled with parties, good times and hard work. But something about getting older and wanting something real made me re-examine things. I wanted to be with my family and with my friends. I have a great network in Singapore – the sort of friends you can sit at a hawker center with and have a teh with on a Tuesday night and not have to dress up or try too hard with. Maybe it’s the hot weather or the island thing [that makes people different here].
Professionally, Singapore is very dynamic. Following the assumption that art follows the gold, I’m betting on Singapore. Southeast Asia is burgeoning in terms of its creative offerings. And lots of curators, historians, institutions are very committed to researching the history of art here, as well as developing the future of it.That said Singapore has always been a very international port so the flavour will be very global.
Also because it is a new destination for the arts, there are a lot of experimental initiatives happening here. This is very good for the art scene and the development of culture.
Editor: Who are the people to watch in the art scene?
AY: In my opinion, museum Director, Susie Lingham, curato Louis Ho and artists Heman Chong, Jason Wee, Joel Yuen are doing amazing things right now.
Editor: What in your opinion is the greatest misconception about art?
AY: First, that it is a luxury good. It requires richness in the mind and it can make you appear to be worldly and educated. A piece of art keeps you occupied for sure but it can’t be compared with a car or a handbag or other luxury goods. And secondly that art equals painting. There are some truly rad digital, performance, video artists.
Audrey is hosting an art exhibition, “The sound of light, with artists l’atlas, due mu, Guram Tsinakhashvili and Tanc Vao runs from 28th November 2014 – 10th Jan 2015 @ Yeo workshop Gilman barracks”