When fashion meets art: Onitsuka Tiger transforms its London flagship into a gallery | Exhibitions | THE VALUE

By: Kayan Wong

09.08.2022 | Tue | 17:05

Art and fashion have long shared a passionate relationship, where their unexpected collaboration often sparks aesthetic magic.

This summer, the pleasant surprise comes from well-known Japanese fashion label Onitsuka Tiger and Art Intelligence Global (AIG), an art consultancy founded by Yuki Terase, Amy Cappellazzo and Adam Chinn. When their creative minds collide, the result is the Tiger Gallery – an out-of-the-box project that transforms the streetwear brand’s flagship stores into a gallery space.

The first contemporary artist to grace the walls of Tiger Gallery is rising Ugandan auction star Godwin Champs Namuyimba. His artistic vision will take over Onitsuka Tiger’s flagship store on Regent Street in London until September 17, 2022.

Tiger Gallery on Regent Street, London
The Tiger Gallery is inaugurated by Ugandan artist Godwin Champs Namuyimba

When Yuki Terase and Amy Cappellazzo left Sotheby’s last year, many wondered where they would go next. Raising eyebrows in the art world, the two auction house heavyweights came together to form AIG – a company with a global vision while also penetrating the nascent Asian market.

Terase joined Sotheby’s in 2011 and has overseen all major contemporary art auctions in Asia since 2018 after being appointed Head of Department. Best known for her innovative curatorial approach, Terase spearheaded phenomenal sales curated by trend icons from famed Korean rapper TOP in 2019 to ‘King of Mandopop’ Jay Chou in 2021.

While Cappellazzo was an art consultant, curator and key figure in founding Art Basel in Miami Beach before working at Sotheby’s. When Sotheby’s acquired her art consultancy business in 2016, Art agency, partner (AAP) with $85 million, she began leading the auction house’s expanded global art department as chair of the art department.

And her founding partner, Adam Chinn, was chief operating officer at Sotheby’s from 2017 to 2018, where he led the company’s operations on a global scale.

In conversation with The value Last year, when discussing the future of AIG, Terase and Cappellazzo mentioned the importance of making full use of the exhibition space. And this year, the duo chose the most unexpected gallery location – a streetwear brand’s flagship store.

Amy Cappellazzo (left) and Yuki Terase (right), founders of art consultancy Art Intelligence Global (AIG)

Adam Chinn, former Chief Operating Officer of Sotheby’s, is now co-founder of Art Intelligence Global (AIG)

In fact, AIG didn’t choose Onitsuka Tiger as its long-term partner without reason. Launched in 1949 as a breakthrough performance shoe, Onitsuka Tiger began with a commitment to promoting youth health. Since then, the brand has continued to innovate and become a leading international fashion and lifestyle label.

In recent years, Onitsuka Tiger’s striped sneakers have become a fashion must-have for young people – particularly in China, South Korea and Thailand. Determined to expand and support artistic talent, the brand has worked with a diverse range of creative souls over the years, from visual artists and fashion designers to art collectives and sneaker boutiques.

This time, Onitsuka Tiger has extended its footprint to the gallery world by collaborating with AIG with the goal of supporting global contemporary artists and creating opportunities for people to experience art casually. The Tiger Gallery will allow artists not only to exhibit work in their world-class flagship stores, but also to curate interventions into the world of Onitsuka Tiger by designing creative window displays and digital experiences in the brand’s online spaces.

Onitsuka Tiger’s collaboration with American artist Brian Kenny
Onitsuka Tiger’s collaboration with Singaporean artist Andrew Loh

Its inaugural exhibition focuses on the widely acclaimed Ugandan artist Godwin Champs Namuyimba. An aspiring Black artist, Namuyimba uses the human form to explore identity, race and individuality, and seeks to awaken the complex racial and social issues that have been neglected in history.

With an exceptionally acute sense of line and colour, his works have consistently topped estimates at auction in recent years, indicating increasing demand for his work.

In June 2021, just days before the artist’s solo exhibition at New York’s East Projects gallery, his painting determination sold for $107,100, 13 times its low estimate of $8,000 at Philips New York. Five months later, his auction record was broken by another figurative painting, The connectorwhich fetched HK$1.3 million (around US$168,000) versus its low estimate of HK$200,000 (around US$25,400).

Going forward, Tiger Gallery will continue to provide global visibility to a wide range of contemporary artists, beyond the scope of a seasonal artist or brand collaboration.

Godwin Champs Naming | determinationAcrylic and Paper Maroufle on Denim (Sold: $107,100)

Godwin Champs Naming | The connectorAcrylic and mixed media on canvas (sold: around $168,000)

Godwin Champs Namuyimba’s works are exhibited at the Tiger Gallery

Information about the gallery
Date: 4 August – 17 September 2022
Address: Onitsuka Tiger Regent Street, London Flagship, 249-251 Regent St., London W1B 2EP, UK
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m

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