Art Appreciation

A home’s interior design is defined by its details. The furniture, colour, and layout of every room is important – but the selection of art, is what really makes a home unique and vibrant.

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Photography by Riley Khoo

This homemaker knows only too well that art has the power not only to transform a home but also to enhance the lives of those who inhabit that home. Art can be inspiring, uplifting and affirming. What’s so refreshing about the artwork and other decorative items in this home is that they are so intricately entwined with the owners’ lives. For instance, the homemaker, Jana, pointed out a painting from Macedonia which was the first piece of art that she bought with her husband; the piano which was given to her by her father when she was five years old; the candle stick which captured her heart while she was out jogging in Munich; an antique chest from Sri Lanka and much more – each piece, evokes wonderful emotions and holds invaluable memories that are cherished by these owners.

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So who lives in this home that exudes such distinctive style and sophistication? Jana, an elegantly attired lady, tells us that she lectures at UBD and has been living in Brunei for nearly two years with her husband, 18 year old son and 14 year old daughter. They’ve lived in Europe, Sri Lanka and in Cambodia. She loves Asia and is very comfortable with the culture and believes that living in different countries is a positive experience. She explained, “My children are more open-minded and accepting of different people and cultures; and the friends that we’ve made became more like our family – those relationships are very special.” About living in Brunei, she said, “I really enjoy living here! Brunei is safe and we have a comfortable lifestyle. I love being surrounded by the rainforest, it’s a tranquil place in which you can be at peace with yourself. Bruneians are also kind and supportive to new people and have embraced us wholeheartedly.”

Sitting at the dining table in this contemporary abode, Jana revealed, “My husband and I have been married for 20 years and whenever we move to a new country, creating a comfortable home is my first priority. For instance, my children’s rooms are always decorated with photos and items that are dear to them – things that give them a sense of familiarity, continuity and most importantly, stability and security. It usually takes me three weeks to organise and decorate a house and I do this myself. The furniture, paintings and sculptures that you see belong to me and I’ve had some of these pieces for a very long time because I believe in buying quality pieces.” This house is stunningly decorated and perfect for entertaining – and Jana admitted that she and her husband enjoy having people over for dinner and that she loves having friends over especially for high tea. Her exquisite table presentation is a feast for the eyes and guests get to chat and relax in a welcoming atmosphere. When asked where her favourite room was, she replied, “My office is my favourite room as it is my own personal space. I love reading and have all of my favourite authors in that room like Dostoevsky, Thomas Mann, Oscar Wilde, John Irving, Homer and many more.”

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Being a lecturer, she has an avid interest in history, current affairs and, of course, education. But as we could see, Jana is also extremely passionate about art – a subject which she’s well versed on. She explained, “When I arrive in a new country, I look for a house that has a lot of wall space for my artwork.” As she showed us around, she explained the history of each painting and about the artist. She said, “My appreciation and understanding of art started when I was young. While growing up my parents took me to lots of exhibitions, museums and concerts and I learnt a lot about art until eventually I began to develop my own tastes for the type of art that I value. For example, two of my favourite artists are Salvador Dali and Slovakian-born artist, Matej Kren. It is well known that Kren’s “….work is remarkable for its exceptional scope. His work not only touches on very contemporary problems, such as erasing the boundaries between reality and fiction, memory and the present, but also on classic themes in art – the relation between inner and outer, the part and the whole.” She admires a range of works by different artists, including Boro Mitrikeski, Jean-Michel Basquiat (Untitled, 1982) and Julian Schnabel (The Student of Prague, 1983) as well as Hiroshi Sugimoto. Jana added, “Beauty comes in many forms. I appreciate beauty in historical pieces and I strongly believe that these precious artefacts should be preserved.” The fabulous interior style of this home is definitely chic and contemporary with touches of history, but it is also decorated to accommodate family life – one that is relaxed, luxurious and connected to its attractive setting.


This article was published in the November 2016 issue of Inspire Living Magazine. Download it here! 

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