As a non-profit organization concatenating important Asia-Pacific galleries, Asia Pacific Art Gallery Alliance (APAGA for short), founded for five years, has established a new look for the art industry in Asia under the concerted efforts of various gallery members, and has gradually held a position in the changing industry. Even under the severe test of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it still stands firm.
After the financial crisis, Asia’s art market leaped forward in an upright posture, which is inseparable from the pulsation of the global economy. Central banks of various countries implemented quantitative easing policies in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, and since 2012, the negative interest rate policy has impelled the inflow of hot money into fine art market, which has become a field for the racing by the global rich. Furthermore, as the international interest in Asia’s art market has increased year by year, it has aggregated as a trend and impact. According to statistics, the revenue of the global art market has grown from US$5.292 billion to US$7.123 billion between 2013 and 2015. In the past ten years, the brilliant achievement of the art in Asia in various aspects such as the gallery industry, academic research, art auctions, etc., is obvious to all, which also had positive effects on the establishment of APAGA five years ago with the mission and meaning of becoming a major force in developing the art industry in Asia.
The core of APAGA is centered on the most influential regional gallery associations. At the beginning of its establishment, APAGA, as a non-profit organization, was composed of eight founding members, including Australian Commercial Galleries Association, Art Gallery Association, Beijing, China, Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, Asosiasi Galeri Senirupa Indonesia (Jakarta District), Japan Art Dealers’ Association, Galleries Association of Korea, Art Galleries Association Singapore, and Taiwan Art Gallery Association (TAGA for short). The goal of this alliance is for enhancing cooperation, communication and information exchange among the gallery associations of Asia-Pacific countries, to expand and research the art market in the Asia-Pacific region and facilitate the members’ development in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the United States.
As an important promoter of APAGA, Chairperson Oliver Chang of TAGA shared his original intention: “At that time (2014), I wanted to create a platform for dialogue to integrate the major galleries in Asia-Pacific, so that the region could arise its voice in the global art market. Taiwan, with the advantage of central position at East coast of Asia Pacific and early experience in the art industry, should take an initiative lead of regional integration and international cooperation, which is also echoing to Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy. In my opinion, Asia shall not fall behind, so in my first term of the chairperson of TAGA, we tried to gather the strengths of the industry in many important Asian cities, connecting Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore to shape the new face of the art industry in Asia.” he claimed with a smile. “In those years, the Asia’s art market was red hot. I thought that if I didn’t do it promptly, I was afraid the advantage would slip away!”
Because of the initial vision and ideas, Chairperson Oliver Chang started to take actions. In 2014, he persuaded and integrated the representatives of major Asian gallery associations when they participated in ART TAIPEI, a significant art fair with long history in Asia. Over the years, many Japanese and Korean galleries have come to ART TAIPEI to learn how to run an art exhibition, and passed on the successful experience of ART TAIPEI to the emerging art fairs in Asia. Through frequent exchanges, sharing and inheritance of experience, a friendly partnership was established, and these foundations accelerated the pace of integration of APAGA. In 2014 and 2015, two preparatory meetings were held in Taipei and Jeju Island respectively. Mr. Chang also cooperated with the then Secretary-General, Eva Lin and Executive Director, Longsheng Shih, of Taipei Art Economy Research Centre to head to South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan for exchanging experience in art market and art industry with the major galleries in the Asia-Pacific region, and planed a preliminary organizational structure. In October 2015, the establishment of ART TAIPEI was announced, and the first APAGA Forum “The Era of Cooperation in Art Industry: Asia Pacific Art Gallery Alliance” was held.
APAGA, with the mission of voicing for the art in Asia, has formed alliances with gallery associations in Taiwan, Australia, Beijing, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and will play a key role as a leader in the future Asia-Pacific art industry. APAGA has also held 13 meetings in Taipei, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia since its establishment, with frequent and enthusiastic exchanges and close interactions.
Since its preparation and inception, APAGA has reached the next milestone. This year, the term of the current board of APAGA is coming to an end and a new board will be elected. Mr. Oliver Chang, who will return to the APAGA meeting soon, would like to actively pursue the chairmanship of the alliance, on the other hand, he will also propose a series of three-dimensional development and management plans for APAGA, including 1. Business development through the Alliance (for both in-person and online fairs); 2. Image shaping of cultural diplomacy; 3. Connections of domestic galleries; 4. Expansion of the Alliance by inviting new member nations to join.
For example, regarding “Business development through the Alliance (for both in-person and online fairs)”, the plan is to provide equivalent benefits for the art fairs held by the members. Regarding “Image shaping of cultural diplomacy”, the plan is to establish a good partnership with the personnel stationed abroad of APAGA’s member countries. Furthermore, regarding “Connections of domestic galleries”, the plan is, with the development of the digital age, to bridge foreign artists, curators and domestic galleries to increase interactions and expand influence in the region to the world through diverse digital platforms. Asia’s art market has received international attention in the past decade. Nevertheless, in the past, APAGA’s member countries mainly focused on Northeast Asia. In the future, the plan is to expand the territory by inviting Southeast Asian countries such as India, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand to join the alliance so as to strengthen APAGA’s lineup.
The Election of third chairman of Asia Pacific Art Gallery Alliance (APAGA) had been held online on April 15 and April 22 in 2021. The participating members included Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, Asosiasi Galeri Senirupa Indonesia (Jakarta District), Japan Art Dealers’ Association, Galleries Association of Korea, Art Galleries Association Singapore and Taiwan Art Gallery Association. With all votes and full supports from all APAGA members, Mr. Oliver Chang, the chairperson of Taiwan Art Gallery Association (TAGA), was successfully elected as the 3rd Chairperson of Asia Pacific Art Gallery Alliance.
Mr. Oliver Chang appreciates the friendship and supports from all members and declared that in order to make APAGA stronger, he will promote the Asia’s art market and enforce the cooperation with Southeast Asia countries such as India, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines.
In the online meeting, TAGA collected the members’ opinions about the impacts that CO-VID 19 did to the international art fairs and local art market. Mr. Oliver Chang said TAGA will help the member to join ART TAIPEI 2021, which is held by TAGA. Whether it is an online exhibition or a physical exhibition, Taiwan will do its utmost to help member countries and jointly enhance the Asian art market.