I was at the opening reception of ‘If Walls Could Speak’ which was held at ION Art Gallery in Orchard earlier this month. Mayinart brought together 30 award-winning artists from different parts of Asia, including India, Indonesia and Singapore, showcasing around 150 visual works for the show.

Some featured artists included Indonesian Master Painter Kartika Affandi, Indonesian Master Artist Budi Ubrux, AT Sitompol, UOB award-winning artist Januri, and Ekta Chandra- the winner of the ASEAN Art Award among other artists.

The artworks were priced within an affordable range in line with Mayinart’s underlying ethos of democratizing the arts landscape to make art accessible to all.

One of the prime highlights of the exhibition was the work of renowned Indonesian painter and sculptor Kartika Affandi. In addition to enjoying the art, visitors indulged in fun activities, such as live finger painting, and meet and greet sessions with artists between 2nd and 11th February.

At 85, Kartika Affandi Is A Passionate Artist 

I was in awe of Kartika Affandi’s exemplary work. The style of expressionism in her art is conveyed as she directly squeezes from tubes of paint with her fingers, endowing raw emotion in snaking patterns onto her paintings – a technique exclusively used by her father- the iconic Indonesian artist Affandi. Inspired by nature, her work has a unique selection of vibrant colours. 

Born in 1934, she continues to paint passionately through her golden years. Although she never received a higher formal education, she is often invited to give talks in international art events. She received a Doctor Honorary Causa in Art and Culture from Northern California Global University (NCGU), the United States of America in 2004; Honorary Degree Maestro in Pittura, Italy and a Golden Medal from Academia of Salsomaggiore, Italy for her contributions to the art scene. Kartika was also the subject of a 2018 documentary film titled ‘Kartika Affandi: 9 Ways of Seeing’, by Christopher Basile.

With a bright red dahlia adorning her silver hair, Affandi smiled when I ask her about what kept her going. She shared “My passion for art is such that if I weren’t an artist, I don’t know what else I would be doing. I feel like art is why I exist, and that is what has helped me cross borders.”

I asked her about the struggles of making it in the Asian art landscape. She smiled and shared, “It doesn’t help when you want to be an artist, and on top of it you are a woman from a low-income family. There were times when we didn’t have enough money to buy a cracker a day, but my father’s dedication to art was my biggest inspiration, and I continued painting.” 

She added that things are changing, but people need to be more supportive of artists, and not only in Asia but all over the world.