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Singapore To Create Art Enclave To Entice The Rich

Tara Loader Wilkinson

3 July 2012

Singapore is turning a former British barracks into an exclusive art district, as part of the city-state’s drive to attract the international rich, according to reports.

Gillman Barracks will house 13 art galleries and is set to open for business in September. Galleries include Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Takashi Marakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery and ShanghART of Shanghai, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

The project is a joint effort by the Economic Development Board, the National Arts Council and the Landlord, JTC, a state-linked infrastructure developer.

The former British army barracks has 14 separate buildings. There will be about 20 galleries eventually within the complex, plus the Centre of Contemporary Arts Singapore.

Singapore will be pitting itself against Hong Kong, which runs the now world-famous annual ArtHK, a 260-gallery event which after five years has established itself as the leading Asian art fair. Hong Kong is also opening the M+ Museum in 2017, with a US$170 million donation of Chinese contemporary art from Swiss collector Uli Sigg.

There is certainly enough money in the region to allow art in both regions to thrive. A report from Capgemini and RBC Wealth showed the population of millionaires in Asia-Pacific outnumbered that in the US for the first time. Singapore has 91,200 US dollar millionaires, more than Hong Kong’s 83,600.