It is undeniable that Malaysian art industry was expecting a tough ride after the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015. It gave rise to unprecedented jam-packed auctions just before its official implementation with the hope that collectors would take advantage of saving instead of paying GST. Although most expected a bad year of 2015, the overall total sales result was a complete astonishment with around RM2 million higher than 2014. Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers outperformed the rest with more than RM10.7 million sales, followed by KLAS Art Auction with about RM8 million, RM7.5 million for Masterpiece Auction KL and The Edge Auction for RM1.5 million.
2016 marks an interesting year for Malaysian art industry as it will be the time for collectors to transform into bargain hunters, making it an uphill battle for both artists and art galleries. Although some of the relatively new galleries have decided to call it a day, the more established galleries such as Wei-Ling Gallery, G13, Core Design Gallery and Richard Koh Fine Art were among those that brave the outlook as they not only go on the offensive with interesting local exhibitions, but also going abroad to promote in-house artists in international art exhibitions such as Art Stage Singapore. While other galleries such as Galeri Seni Mutiara and The Art Gallery from Penang and KL-based galleries such as PINKGUY Gallery and Segaris Art Centre prefer to focus more on local presentations. In short, galleries today must showcase its strength towards the artists they represent in order to gain collectors’ confidence with an apparent objective that they will be the blue chip when it comes to art investment.
With an expected slowdown in the Malaysian economy, the art industry will be facing a challenging year ahead. It is also crunch time for true dedicated artists and professional art galleries to prove to the public that their creations are worth collecting and investing, as the world has had enough of self-proclaimed and non-serious artists while some better artists demand prices beyond the reach of most especially the newcomers. Collectors are not dumb rich people; artists and their artworks are just like other professions and products that consumers pay with expectations.
2016年对马来西亚艺术圈而言，是有趣的一年。因为这一年，收藏家可能逢低买入，艺术圈成为艺术家和画廊之间的艰苦战场。虽然一些相对较新的画廊已决定关闭，比较资深的画廊，如Wei-Ling Gallery、G13、Core Design Gallery 和 Richard Koh Fine Art却勇敢前进。它们不仅积极举办有趣的本地艺术展，也到国际艺术展如“艺术登陆新加坡”介绍本身的艺术家。槟城的珍珠画廊和The Art画廊，以及来自吉隆坡的画廊，如PINKGUY画廊和Segaris艺术中心比较专注于本地展览。总之，今天的画廊必须向他们所代表的艺术家展现实力，以赢取收藏家的信心–相信他们所购买的艺术品，是蓝筹股级的投资。
Abdul Latiff Mohidin
1996 • 81cm x 203cm • Oil on Canvas
KLAS Art Auction 24/05/2015, Lot 57
Price Realised: RM601,800
2007 • 183cm x 183cm • Oil on canvas
KLAS Art Auction 18/01/2015, Lot 48
Price Realised: RM313,600
Chia Yu Chian
1983 • 97cm x 184cm • Oil on Canvas
Masterpiece KL 02/08/2015, Lot 109
Price Realised: RM156,800
Ahmad Zakii Anwar
1997 • 120cm x 180cm • Acrylic on Canvas
KLAS Art Auction 24/05/2015, Lot 66
Price Realised: RM118,000
Image(s) courtesy of KLAS Art Auction and Masterpiece Auction