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Speakers – Art Industry Forum, May 2023

Past Events

Art Industry Forum

Value Creation Through The Art Industry


Dr Irene Yap

Head of Economics, Research and Statistics, Brunel Darussalam Central Bank

Arts and Culture Industry – An Economic Perspective

Due to its size, the arts and culture industry is often overlooked as a contributor to economic growth. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) in their Creative Economy Outlook 2022 report, the creative economy is one of the world’s fastest growing sector that not just create employment and income but also promotes innovation and plays a role in contributing to societies’ well-being. Creative industries generate economic activities through production of goods and services. Creative goods include art crafts; audio-visuals; design; new media; performing arts; publishing; visual arts. Creative services: research and development licences and services; software licences and services; audio-visual licences and services; information services; advertising, market, research and architecture; cultural, recreational and heritages services.

Both the direct and indirect impacts of the arts and culture industry, creative industries to the wider economy should not be underestimated just because benefits are not always directly measurable or quantifiable. Efforts had been made to measure through revenues and employment generated by some countries, with regularly reporting to monitor its progress and growth. Work is ongoing to capture better data and understanding.

The art industry is a specific sector within the creative industry that contributes to the creative economy. This presentation will explore the potential that Brunei Darussalam has to develop the art industry towards the creation of creative business opportunities, employment and revenue generation.

Dr Irene Yap heads the Economic, Research and Statistics office (ERS) at Brunei Darussalam Central Bank. ERS’ main functions include economic surveillance, research and analysis and compilation of monetary and financial statistics. Prior to joining BDCB in 2011, she worked at the Brunei Currency and Monetary Board (BCMB) with experience in various portfolios including accounts and finance, reserve investment, currency operations, mint and international matters as well as research.

She graduated from her Ph.D. studies in Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling with the Centre of Policy Studies at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. She also holds a Master in International Economics and Finance (Advanced) from University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Accounting and Economics from the University of Southampton in England.

She is the founder and CEO of Synartgy Company.

Understanding the Value of Art and the Art Market

Artistic practice has always played a significant role in shaping and reflecting social and cultural expressions. It promotes cultural identity and often addresses social and global issues raising awareness of values such as injustice, sustainability, health, and discrimination. Art has also been influential in encouraging creativity and innovation through the development of new ideas and creating the foundations for lively cities, which became so important for the tourism industry. Additionally, art has been at the core of activities that contribute to community engagement and improve mental health and well-being. Finally, the sum of all mentioned above led to the establishment of art markets in reference to the increased global demand for art and the growing commercialisation of the art world. The art market involves a consolidated network of relations between artists, critics, arts and culture managers, collectors, cultural institutions, and the audience.

The rise of art markets has had a significant impact on the art world, with prices for certain artworks skyrocketing and the art market becoming increasingly competitive. While some argue that the commercialisation of the art world has led to a focus on profit over artistic value, others believe that it has helped to support artists and promote the importance of art in society.

This talk presents an overview of the socio-cultural value of art and explores the processes of career-making, networking, value creation, and the complex system of buying and selling art.

Dr Rui Oliveira Lopes is a Senior Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, where he is the Programme Leader for Design and Creative Industries Programme. At UBD, he lectures on Global Art History, Communication and Visual Arts, Curatorship, Arts and Cultural Management. Dr Lopes’ expertise is focused on cultural and artistic transfer, museum and curatorial practice, urban heritage and the study of artistic practice in the context of cultural identities. Over the last 15 years, he has been a consultant and curator for museums and special exhibitions in Portugal, China, Taiwan, and Brunei Darussalam.

Dr Rui Oliveira Lopes

Senior Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Brunel Darussalam

John Z. W. Tung

Independent Curator and Exhibition Maker, Singapore

Singapore’s Quest for ‘Cultural Development’

Over the years, cultural policy in Singapore has been continually redesigned so as to achieve a balance of both economic and cultural development through the proliferation of arts and cultural activities. The provision and promotion of the arts has long been seen as a way to foster an emerging cultural identity; in this context key objectives have often included, the “elimination of communal divisions and attitudes”, strengthening of community ties, abstract notions of renaissance, and recently, an increased focus on identity once again.

The role arts and cultural development had to play in securing the economic progress of Singapore was also recognised in 1989 when the Report of the Advisory Committee on Culture and the Arts highlighted the necessity of cultural infrastructural development to maintain investors, foreign talents, and tourism. All consequent governmental reports on the arts and culture have consequently kept the dual goals of economic and social development in mind.

The presentation takes a closer look at the Singaporean model of cultural development, condensing key learning points for a regional audience.

John Z.W. Tung is an independent curator and exhibition-maker. To date, his close work with artists has realised more than 50 artwork commissions and site- specific adaptations ranging from the minute to monumental. Serving as a co- curator for the Singapore Biennale 2016 and Singapore Biennale 2019, three of the artwork commissions he curated were finalists for the Benesse Prize, with one work winning the prestigious award. His recent appointments as an independent curator include Festival Curator for the 7th & 8th Singapore International Photography Festival (2020 & 2022) and Associate Curator for the Open House programme, For the House; Against the House (2021, 2022 & 2023), and The Forest Institute, a large-scale architectural art installation dedicated to secondary forest ecologies. In 2023, he was the recipient of the inaugural Tan Boon Hui Curatorial Prize.

He holds a BA (Hons) in Arts Management awarded by Goldsmiths, University of London (at LASALLE College of the Arts) and an MA in Cultural Management from the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he graduated on the Dean’s List.

The Art Industry in Brunei Darussalam: Past, Present and Future

The art scene in Brunei Darussalam has evolved through several stages over the last decades, from pioneering artists who have been active since the 1970s to a new generation of young emerging artists who have been exposed to new artistic discourses. The creative practice in Brunei Darussalam has been informed on expressions of Bruneian cultural identity and the close artistic and cultural exchanges with other ASEAN countries. More recently, emerging artists have been exploring and experimenting other artistic discourses engaging with technology, conceptualism, and other post-modern trends.

This talk reflects on my views about the art industry in Brunei Darussalam based on my experience and career as an artist, a professional in the creative industry in Brunei Darussalam and the founder of a private gallery that has been organising exhibitions and promoting established and emerging artists in Brunei Darussalam and internationally.

Haji Osman Haji Mohammad is a Bruneian-based artist, owner and managing director of the Creative Space Studio and Art Gallery in Sengkurong. He is also an Adjunct Senior Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam since 2013. Haji Osman is a leading watercolour artist in Brunei Darussalam, frequently presenting his work in collective and solo exhibitions. His work is represented in some of Brunei Darussalam’s most important private collections and at the Brunei Museum.

Osman Mohammad

Owner and Managing Director, Creative Space Studio and Art Gallery, Brunei Darussalam

Art Industry Forum

Value Creation Through The Art Industry

Radisson Hotel, Brunei Darussalam

Saturday, 20 May 2023

8.30 am – 1.30 pm