Abstract art gallery Nikei Fine Art officially opened its doors to much fanfare on 24 October with a Grand Opening ceremony graced by His Excellency Yoichi Suzuki, the Japanese Ambassador to Singapore, as the Guest-of-Honour.
Nikei Fine Art is founded by retired Japanese businessman, Hiroshi Kato. The gallery is named after his only child, Nikei Kato, who also helps to run the art space. An art aficionado who is a graduate of Keio University in Art History, Hiroshi Kato dedicated 35 years of his life to his family’s car parts manufacturing business before eventually coming full circle and returning to his first love and interest, the arts, this year.
Nikei Fine Art has a superb selection of abstract art pieces and it is the gallery’s mission to promote the appreciation of Asian abstract art particularly from Japan. Kato views Singapore as a conduit that will best showcase Japanese abstract art to an international market and presents leading Japanese abstract artists such as Toko Shinoda and Nuit Sano.
Nikei Fine Art is a veritable homage to Zen, the gallery and the works ensconced within are soothing and meditative. Toko Shinoda is arguably Japan’s leading woman artist, painting original works in sumi ink on such select materials as silver, gold, and platinum foils, and handmade Japanese paper. Her art hangs in the hallowed halls of the Imperial Palace of Japan in Tokyo. She will turn 100 next year and still, her work, continues to confound critics with her refusal to conform to any sort of stereotype, nor is she bound to Japanese art traditions.
With Nuit Sano, blue is a colour that “hides so much of what it has to say” and with a palette of colour that many in Japan’s art world have come to refer to as “Sano blue”, she creates compositions inspired by nature where the colour blue is both the subject and theme of her paintings. Her highly expressive range of blues and bold brushwork continues to create melodious compositions carrying an unmistakable stamp that is all of her own.
The serenity continues with Yumiko Sakurai, a stained glass artist from Japan who is the latest addition to the gallery’s line-up. She embodies this sentiment in the soothing hues used in her stained glass pieces. Inspiration comes to her in moments of calm and then the colours she sees in her daily life are translated into works of art suffused with harmonious shades. Sakurai is not only dexterous with colours and glass, but she also solders together the metal pieces at the edges of her stained glass.
Apart from Japanese artists, Nikei Fine Art also represents many Asian artists, among them Foo Yong Kong, one of the few rare Malaysian artists who paints abstracts and Singaporean Terrence Teo whose expressive Chinese ink paintings bring to mind the Chinese colossus of ink: Wu Guanzhong.
Nikei Fine Art’s inaugural exhibition Kaomise, which is a traditional term used in Japanese Kabuki to signify the ‘first showing’ will run till 4 November.
Nikei Fine Art
328 North Bridge Road
#01-34, Raffles Hotel Arcade
Tel: 6338 9073
11am to 9pm (Monday to Thursday & Sunday)
11am to 10pm (Friday and Saturday)
Click here to view more photos taken at the official opening of Nikei Fine Art at the Raffles Hotel Arcade