Open – Shut – Open, the SFAI

The San Francisco Art Institute, SFAI, opened in 1871 and is one of the oldest schools dedicated to Contemporary Art in the United States. In March 2020, I was sad to read that the school was closing due to financial pressures exacerbated by COVID-19. Since then many supporters have emerged, citing its unique contribution to the arts and mustering the funds and motivation, for it to continue. So students will be able to complete degrees, public art courses and exhibitions can live another day. But why do I, a British artist and write care about this? How did I even come to know of SFAI?…

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The Face Room

Staring out from the wall of the Otago Settlers Museum, in the far south of New Zealand are hundreds of faces. From floor to ceiling, eyes resolute and unflinching, all around you. Stern and uncompromising, faces from over a 150 years ago and far away.

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Six NZ Artists to Know

Earlier this year I spent some time in New Zealand and visited Wellington, Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown. I had been to New Zealand once before, but had never particularly read up on the NZ art scene or history. While I was there, I visited a number of galleries and it was interesting to see which artists’ names kept cropping up. Whose work is repeatedly collected and shown in public galleries? And which artists’ works stood out to me, as a non-native, with little knowledge of the NZ art world.

Here’s my list of NZ artists I came to know and a little more about them.

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Singapore: Art amongst the high-rises

Singapore is more known for its financial industry than its art scene. A jungle of hi-rises, 5-star hotels with rooftop swimming pools and vast quantities of air conditioned shopping centres. The population seems to be composed of armies of neatly dressed office-workers – both expat and locals. Young people here study under one of the most intensely pressured education systems and a supporting cast of foreign domestic workers is shipped in, to keep everything running smoothly.

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