Singapore’s ‘’Ode To Art’’ Gallery Founder, Jazz Chong Reflects Her 18 Years Of Journey Through Arts

An art-repreneur who has made headway in the art &…
By: Aqilah Najwa Jamaluddin
March 14, 2022

The name Jazz Chong is no stranger to Singapore’s art and culture scene. Having founded Ode to Art gallery in 2004, Jazz has been lauded as one of the most influential women—who has always been a proponent of supporting the local art scenes and artists while championing diversity and inclusion through her curation of arts in the contemporary art scene. 

Set to soar high in the Year of the Tiger, Jazz has recently been appointed as the co-chair of the Gallery Benefit 2022 for National Gallery Singapore. The annual fundraiser is an opportunity for like-minded individuals, artists, collectors and patrons to come together for an evening of wonderful conversation and art appreciation. This year, Jazz also joined the board of Governors for National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science. Her mission? To spur the younger generation on with the power of visual representation.

While Jazz does not claim the world ‘feminist’ as her calling card, she breaks the glass ceiling by simply, and powerfully, excelling in her chosen field. In conjunction with Women’s celebration month, Glitz by Beauty Insider decided to talk to the art-preneur herself. 

We believe that Ode to Art gallery Singapore has been around for 18 years now. That’s an achievement! Share with us your journey. 

I learnt a lot from the mistakes I made. I have also been very fortunate to meet a lot of kind mentors that were from within and outside of the industry who have shared their journey with me and inspired me. As a local art gallery, we are both humbled and delighted to have worked with world-famous artists such as Fernando Botero, Qin Feng, Ran Hwang, Coplu, and Eva Armisen local veteran artists such as Lim Tze Peng and Hong Zhu An, and of course with young, up-and-coming artists as well.

As an art-preneur, surprisingly, you are not involved in any sort of process in painting or art creating. So what exactly pulls you into this business? 

I have always enjoyed making music but as the career move didn’t pan out, I moved into my second passion which is art. 

As a person who has been in this industry for almost 20 years, would you say that female artists received less acknowledgement compared to their male peers? 

Yes…there is still gender bias, but the gap is closing, and we can definitely see improvements in recent years.

What would you consider the biggest challenge (for a female artist)? 

That a female artist often receives less acknowledgement despite having more challenges such as childbirth and having to take care of the family, especially in Asia where women are still being confronted with traditional roles.

How do you aim to allow the man on the street to encounter art more easily and rethink the idea of art? 

Art is multi-faceted and can be found everywhere in our lives if we look for it. 

How do you stay connected and up to date with the art world? 

In the past, I regularly visited galleries, museums, exhibitions, and artists’ studios. I spent a lot of time talking to artists and people in the industry to keep myself updated. In the post Covid world, most of these are now done virtually with a lot of sharing among each other. 

What do you do when you need a creative boost?

I am inspired by people who are constantly pushing boundaries in art, architecture and music. 

If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Tamara de Lempicka and Frida Kahlo. Both women were extremely empowering and feminists in a time where women faced even more biases and gender limitations. They were forward thinking and weren’t afraid of being bold and staying true to themselves. Frida Kahlo also found a like minded husband who understood her and supported her – which is quite valuable. 

Share with us your proudest moment that makes you go, ‘’I did it!’’ 

My husband and children; finding a partner who can accept me for who I am. 

Last but not least, what would you tell young artists out there who are battling with self-esteem and or creative-block? 

Do not rush the process and get impatient. The definition of success is different for everyone and comes at a different time for everyone so one must persevere. It is important to look forward to the future, instead of focusing on the now. An artist’s life journey is important as it will be reflected in their art so focus on the process, and the rest will follow through. 

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