How to start an art collection in Qatar

Katara Art Centre director Mayssa Fattouh on getting started

How to start an art collection in Qatar

Collecting art is becoming ever more popular in Qatar. We speak to Mayssa Fattouh, curator and artistic director of Katara Art Centre, about how to kick start your own collection.

Why do people collect art?
There are several categories of people and reasons to collect art but one of the reasons I would like to emphasise is for the sentimental and intellectual perception that surges when facing an artwork and the attachment or lingering that follows. Other reasons can be for social status, tax evasion, money laundering, consumerism, and those for me are not true collectors.

What is the most important thing to know about collecting art?
I would probably not start by using ‘know’, as knowledge is not the first thing that is triggered when you react to a piece, it is rather how you feel and what is important is whether the piece speaks to you or not. Then follows knowledge about the story of the artwork, the artist, whether it is a unique piece or not, if it's signed and other technicalities.

What else should first-time art buyers be looking for in a piece?
Another recommendation would be to know the trajectory of the artist, his or her previous work and other current works.

Where should they start looking?
The conventional route would be galleries in the neighbourhood and art fairs, but also end of year university exhibitions and studio visits once more familiar.

Is this region a good place to start?
The region is indeed a good place to start, one of the reasons being that the context plays a big role in the reading and interpretation of the piece and the affinities that are created. This said, one should not be limited by geography.

What is a fair price to pay for a work when starting your collection?
Under USD1,000 [approximately QR3,640].

What are your ultimate top three tips for people thinking of collecting art?
There's no age for collecting, it can start as early as adolescence.

Avoid buying for the wrong reasons, i.e. to impress, for the name, price and other similar factors.

And finally don't limit yourself to a specific medium – art has the capacity to speak in many forms.

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