Nowadays, the realms of design and art visual arts in Southeast Asia countries have grabbed everyone’s attention and it feels like the interest in arts has been spanning to the region. Not only because some countries in the region begin to establish a number of art galleries in the past decade but it is also about how Southeast Asia’s societies are now enjoying and appreciating art more than before.
This year, Hong Kong’s M+ Pavilion initiated a geographically-focused art exhibition titled “In Search of Southeast Asia through M+ Collections” that shows numerous art collections and works from Southeast Asia since 2014 to reflect the richness of Southeast Asian cultures. What is unique from this art exhibition is, it showcases not only about the diversity of the cultures but also the similarity Southeast Asian countries share, from its topography, historical story, until their urban development.
Take a look at Singapore, it has various art galleries to choose from. If you are into contemporary arts, you may want to visit ARNDT Singapore, or if you are the kind of person who appreciates art works on paper, you will love The Drawing Room.
Art exhibition itself is not always showcased in a museum or a gallery, but also in more public places such as shopping mall. In Indonesia, one of the popular shopping malls, Senayan City works in collaboration with a local fashion brand, Sejauh Mata Memandang to establish an art exhibition whose title is inspired by Javanese folklore called Timun Mas. Here, the visitors can enjoy the diversity of Indonesia’s culture through modern art.
The growing number of art galleries and exhibitions in Southeast Asia provoke the awareness toward arts in any forms and medias. Now people do not visit the galleries only for photo-taking moment but they now appreciate the works beyond the physical presence by reading at the short description that come with the artworks to get to know the background, inspiration, or even to know more about the artists. Because the truth is, is not just about “looking” at the works.
But, do we really need to visit art galleries? Will we get an interesting feeling and experience just by enjoying art at the venue? Can we just simply browse the works of our favourite artists through online media platform? Art enthusiasts may argue that art works seen online are superficial, but then again why do we need to physically attend an art exhibition to enjoy a piece of art in a gallery?
Some interesting studies even show the health benefits we can get by viewing art in a gallery or exhibition. A neurobiologist from the University of London, Professor Semir Zeki reveals that, his study showed that looking at artworks we find beautiful or interesting can cause us to feel similar physical reaction we commonly experience when we fall in love, because the amazement we get by viewing artworks also boost dopamine levels naturally. Another similar study also supports this argument. In 2008, the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study came up with a finding that people who are involved in cultural activities including regularly viewing artworks tend to feel happy, satisfied with their life and have lower rates of anxiety. Furthermore, this study also found that the aforementioned health benefits can be reaped both by the artists and the visitors.
It is always enjoyable to view an artwork with a group of friends as we can exchange our personal perception of the works. However, even if you look at an artwork by yourself, you still can possibly have conflicting opinions in your head. Pay attention to this pattern, because it is another mental experience to be grateful for, as you will notice that looking at artworks at a deeper level can stimulate your thought and it is undoubtedly good to train your memory. Not to mention if you encounter artworks that utilise or involve everyday tools and objects you see or use daily, where you will begin to relate and it will certainly provoke your creativity as it opens your chance to perceive the world differently.
Now that you realise that visiting art galleries is not merely about getting to know certain culture or history—but it is all part of experiencing arts that is also good for your health too, set your schedule to visit an art exhibition or gallery now!