Malaysia lagging behind in global art market
Art Expo Malaysia

The global art market offers a huge opportunity, but remains very competitive, says minister


Export value of the country’s art sector is expected to rise to RM3.8 million this year, from RM3.3 million recorded last year.

However, the total transaction value of the local art industry sales pales in comparison to the whopping estimated RM200 billion worth of global art transactions.

International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said the global art market offers a huge opportunity, but remains very competitive.

“We are expecting a 15% increase in global exports for this year,” Ong said at the official launch of the Art Expo Malaysia (AEM) Plus 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said Malaysia’s art market is still relatively small in relation to the other developed nations. According to The Observatory of Economic Complexity, the main export markets for Malaysia’s art industry are Hong Kong, the US, Singapore, the UK and Papua New Guinea.

Ong said Malaysia has traditionally focused on sectors that provide direct income, while the art industry remains within the soft export sector.

“The art industry holds tremendous potential as the world is witnessing increasing demands for stylish and lifestyle products and services, especially in many rapidly emerging markets and growing middle classes such as China, South-East Asia and West Asia,” he said.

Ong added that Malaysia has a lot to offer in the arts and culture sector, but it has yet to reach the optimal performance level.

Art pieces are appraised based on the artists’ certifications and popularity.

AEM ED Sim Pojinn said the annual art fair expects to register RM3 million rise in artwork sales compared to last year.

He said last year, the exhibition recorded sales worth RM17 million and 25,000 visitors.

“This year, the sales target will be RM20 million,” Pojinn said.

His father, AEM founder Datuk Vincent Sim Tiak Choo, also said they are expecting 30,000 or more visitors for the annual event — the 11th time that the exhibition has been organised.

The event will end on Oct 15 at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

It features 70 art galleries and groups from 25 countries, displaying 2,000 visual arts pieces comprising paintings, sculptures, installations and photography.

The line-up features past exhibitors and supporters, among them Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Taksu and Nadine Fine Art. The art fair also features Kim Il Tae’s mixed 24K gold and oil on canvas. Six galleries from Singapore are

participating in the fair as well. Pojinn said the event allows local artists to network, and visitors to be educated on art appreciation and investment. The event also serves to promote Kuala Lumpur as an active art hub for commerce and development in South-East Asia.

Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail and Raja Puan Muda Perlis Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil were also present at the exhibition.