Valentine Willie Fine Art was founded in 1996 as a pioneer consultancy for modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art, by lawyer and collector Valentine Willie, and Asian art specialist Mee-Seen Loong. In March 1997 we opened our gallery in Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.|
Since opening, the gallery has organised several major exhibitions. In 1996, Of Migrants and Rubber Trees, an exhibition of drawings and installations by leading contemporary Malaysian artist Wong Hoy Cheong at the Creative Centre of the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur; and Imagining the Contemporary Body, an exhibition of figurative art from the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia at Galeri Petronas. In 1997, Re-GRUP - 30 Years On, a collective exhibition of the development of seven major figures in the history of Malaysian abstract expressionist art; and ASEAN Masterworks for the ASEAN Secretariat, an unprecedented selection of major works from nine ASEAN countries.
From 2000 to 2002, we organised a landmark survey of contemporary Filipino art entitled Faith + The City, including over forty artists, touring core institutions in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok and Manila. In 2004, we toured Chang Fee Ming: Mekong to major spaces in Kuala Lumpur, Chiangmai and Jakarta, and put together an important review, Wong Hoy Cheong at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. In 2005, we were engaged as consultants to Tenaga Nasional Berhad to help consolidate and create an exhibition space for their heritage collection of Malaysian art.
In June 2001, we opened a gallery at The Chedi, Ubud, Bali, where we showcased Balinese, Indonesian and Southeast Asian contemporary art. In Bali, we now run a residency for regional artists. Participants have included Ben Cabrera from the Philippines and Manit Sriwanichpoom from Thailand. We also run a residency for visiting regional artists to our Kuala Lumpur gallery. Further afield, we participated by invitation in the Cutting Edge section of ARCO in Madrid in 2002, and Melbourne Art Fair in 2006; meanwhile we take part regularly in Singapore's yearly Contemporary Asian Art Fair.
We run on average fourteen gallery exhibitions a year, aside from offsite projects. Our yearly gallery programme is intended to present to the public a wide range of artistic practice, at once nurturing the local art scene and working towards a truly regional awareness of contemporary art. Solo exhibitions for established and young artists share a schedule with shows curated around themes and issues, both in our main exhibition space and our annexe. Apart from exhibitions, we keep a wide selection of historically important paintings and studies, works by Southeast Asian masters such as Latiff Mohidin, Onib Olmedo, Ang Kiukok and Thawan Duchanee, and regional contemporary artists, both painters and new media artists.
Our Resource Room houses a reference library of art books, magazines and catalogues with a focus on Asian contemporary art which is open to the public, as part of our agenda to gather and share information and news on regional and international practice. We regularly produce catalogues with our exhibitions, and more substantial publications for major projects, and hold talks by artists and curators from time to time.
Malaysian artists we represent include: Anurendra Jegadeva, Askandar Unglehrt, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Chang Fee Ming, Chong Siew Ying, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Kow Leong Kiang, Noor Mahnun Mohamed, Redza Piyadasa, Kok Yew Puah (the estate of), Nirmala Dutt Shanmughalingam, Wong Hoy Cheong, Wong Perng Fey and Yee I-Lann. Regional and international artists we exhibit include Arahmaiani, Mella Jaarsma, Eko Nugroho, Agus Suwage and Titarubi (Indonesia), Manit Sriwanichpoom, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Natee Utarit, and Natthawut Sing-thong (Thailand), Geraldine Javier (Philippines), Tang Da Wu (Singapore), Emil Goh and Lindy Lee (Australia), among others.
We have collaborated with major institutions such as the National Art Gallery and Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manila, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Chiangmai University Art Museum, the National Gallery in Jakarta, Earl Lu Gallery at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, Gallery 4A in Sydney and the Organisation for Visual Arts in the UK; as well as key initiatives like The Substation in Singapore, Green Papaya Art Projects and Surrounded by Water in Manila, and Cemeti Art House in Yogjakarta.
Valentine Willie, Founder & Chairman, completed his Masters in Law from University College, London University in 1977 and was in the same year called to the Bar of England & Wales. He practiced law for 20 years in Sabah, Malaysia, becoming the managing partner of the largest legal firm in Sabah and was for two terms President of the Sabah Law Association.
His interest in the visual arts started during his student days in England and for the past 30 years he has been collecting art, in particular, contemporary Southeast Asian art. He retired from his legal practice in 1996 and established Valentine Willie Fine Art.
He is also a curator, working both for gallery and independent projects, and has been responsible for several major exhibitions on regional art at the National Art Gallery and Galeri Petronas Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, and a landmark survey of contemporary Filipino art entitled Faith + The City, touring regional capitals. From October to December 2003, he was the Exhibitions Director for the opening festival of the Esplanade, Singapore, and a curator for Imagining Prometheus for the Salon di Mobile in Milan earlier that year. Most recently in 2005, he curated and organised Botero in Singapore and Sophia Vari in Kuala Lumpur, a major first for both these international artists in Southeast Asia, and he now represents Botero in the region.
Beverly Yong, Managing Director, graduated from Cambridge University in 1995, reading English Literature and Art History. She went on to gain a Masters degree in Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University the following year, specialising in Chinese ceramics and ancient Chinese civilisation.
She joined Valentine Willie Fine Art as Curator shortly after its foundation in 1996. Returning to London in 1998, she worked in the Chinese Department at Christies'. At the end of 1999, she became a partner of the and is now Managing Director.
She also writes on art, was formerly an art columnist for the Malaysian Business Times and The New Sunday Times, and has worked as a curator for institutional and touring exhibitions in the region.
Rachel Ng, Manager, has been working with Valentine Willie Fine Art since December 1999, prior to which she was developing a major project for LICT (Lim Kok Wing Institute of Creative Technology). She graduated in 1999 from University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) majoring in Arts Management from the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts and a minor in Information Technology.
Daniel Chong, Exhibitions and Resources, is an Art History graduate from the American University of Paris, and joined Valentine Willie Fine Art in April 2004. He manages our exhibition program, curating and writing for some of our shows, and also runs our Resource Room.
Services we offer
Stockroom and Commissions
We work with a broad range of collectors - private, institutional and corporate. Aside from exhibitions, we keep an extensive stock, ranging from past masters to cutting edge artists from Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia, as well as Asian-Australian artists. Most of the artists we represent also accept commissions.
We buy selected artworks or take such artworks on consignment for re-sale at an agreed commission. We can also advise on the value artworks within the purview of our field for sale or insurance purposes.
We work with architects and interior designers to commission or provide existing art pieces both for private clients and on larger projects.
We offer consultation to private or corporate collectors looking to start or strengthen their collections. If you are a private collector, after ascertaining your preferences and budget, we will help you to focus on a coherent buying policy which, in time, will make your collection the envy of other collectors. If you are a corporate collector, we will devise a corporate collecting policy to complement and enhance your corporate profile and business interests.
Sourcing artworks for your collection will be part of our consultancy service. We can also advise on the storage, conservation and framing of works, referring you to reliable specialists, and provide computer cataloguing services for your existing collection. It is not uncommon for corporations to maintain an exhibition space within their corporate headquarters or else sponsor exhibitions at other public galleries. We have a team of curatorial staff who can help organise exhibitions, designing an exhibition to enhance your corporate image; sourcing and transporting artworks; designing and writing exhibition catalogues and other related publications.
Both our main gallery and annexe can be rented for all-day and evening functions. For terms and rates please contact our manager firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Resource Room houses a library of art books, magazines and catalogues with a focus on contemporary Asian art - this is open to the public for reference, please contact email@example.com.
We offer internships to those interested in pursuing a career in visual arts management for a period of two weeks to three months. Please send CVs and applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foundation year: 1996
Director(s): Founder and Chairman: Valentine Willie
Employees: Managing Director: Beverly Yong / Exhibitions and Projects Manager, Snow Ng