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Suma Orientalis: a space for art

In the oasis of density of the Damansara Heights CBD, you will find a home of contemporary Southeast Asian artwork, Suma Orientalis.

Suma Orientalis is a fine art gallery founded by the Executive Director, Sophia Shung. They hold their tagline “All about Asian art” to heart, being passionate about fine art and historical collectibles in the Southeast Asian region.

The gallery started when Sophia Shung went deep into different aspects of the art industry, studying art appraisal and auctioneering. From there, a want to share their knowledge and promote a different sense of aesthetics resulted in Suma Orientalis.

The gallery features works of contemporary art – from realistic art to abstract art, and whimsical pieces to contemplative pieces, Sophia Shung believes that visitors of Suma Orientalis will definitely find art that will inspire and spark a conversation.

Beyond the core function of Suma Orientalis as a fine art gallery where they hold art exhibitions, talks, open discussions, critics sessions and art festivals, they are in the business of providing art advisory services and customised art appreciation courses for corporates and individuals.

They also conduct crash courses for corporate companies and individuals wanting to learn more about art. In doing so, Suma Orientalis acts as a connector between artists, their art and the general public, serving an understated yet important part in enriching the lives of people.

The art gallery is an integral part of the human experience

Art galleries aren’t just spaces hosting standing rows of artwork - they are spaces which act as a medium to connect artists and the general public. Objectively, art galleries act as a platform for artists to showcase artworks and a place for interaction of the artist to learn new art forms and as a collaboration source. But we must not forget the use of such exhibition spaces as a connector of the artist with the general public. An art gallery tells the story of each artist and the artwork showcased delivers the story of the art, fostering the spirit and culture of the artistic community and the people that come to find inspiration and meaning in art.

Art galleries are also valuable and quintessential for wholesome and cultural development. The concept of art is defined by how it is put before a viewer. It goes to the curation and presentation of the art, which has a vital role to play in the subject matter judgement. The aura of art galleries has a foremost objective of enhancing or glorifying the emotions and thoughts stroked in each piece which occupies the space.

It enhances the experience of the general public and enriches their life through the stories which each artwork tells.

Art spaces also have the ability to remind people of their origin and the role of community in their lives. Cultural activities such as visiting art galleries evoke a sense of community, human connectedness, and motivation. Though art is perceived differently, these differences unite us by making people aware of the need for art and cultural values, making life more meaningful.

Genres of art may be universal but each artist is unique on their own. Though the materials used such as the paint or the medium in which it’s told may be the same, the creation will be different every time. The experiences of each artist which is poured into their artwork will produce different outcomes every time creating different variations of the same. Beyond that, our perception of art may not be the same due to our different experiences and understanding. This gives you a chance to look at your subject from a different viewpoint, allowing people to learn new art forms and messages, enriching our lives in the process.

Visiting art galleries and exhibitions can lead to the formation of groups or communities based on how each individual perceives the art. When art galleries promote activities such as public events such as talks and discussions, hold courses for art appreciation or even have a space which is accessible to the public, it will bring people together.

The importance of art galleries are undeniable. It creates awareness of the different human experiences told through art, quenching a thirst for beauty and knowledge, and paves the way for inquisitive minds. Art undoubtedly humanises our environment and invigorates our experience by breaking blandness and sameness and giving communities a stronger sense of place and identity.

The selection of Suma Orientalis for The Five enriches the experience of visitors by providing a space where people can immerse themselves in fine art. Sophia Shung believes that Suma Orientalis is a place for people who want to engage in conversations about art and life, which allows visitors to experience art in the course of daily life, making each visit to The Five even more meaningful.

Suma Orientalis is located at Level 3a of Block B in The Five.

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