Latest Publications

For love or money: the art of collecting

Laura Egerton
9 June 2023

Ultimately, it will be what has been collected, what has been written about as a result of being selected to be on exhibition and therefore documented, that will be preserved for generations to come. Major collectors from the UAE have understood this, and lead by example. Take the consistently first-rate work of Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi: through his Barjeel Art Foundation he promotes art by artists from the Arab World in a comprehensive and diligent way, ensuring gaps in institutional collections are filled, encouraging scholarship and educational initiatives in cities across the world through his cultural majlis. Others have been pioneers and formed important collections, now available to view online such as His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeih’s expansive collection of art from across the MENASA, via the Khaleeji Art Museum and Mohammad Afkhami’s with a focus on Iranian art, viewable at

“Buy what you love.” This catchphrase is often the first piece of advice given to anyone who suggests they want to purchase a work of art. It is usually followed by the equally confounding “don’t buy art to make money”. But how easy is it to get that right? To truly understand what it means when people say, “it should speak to you”? There’s no set criteria or qualifications to become an art collector or patron of the arts. You don’t need to attain a good degree from a top university or complete a foundation course at an arts college. Strong references or evidence of visiting leading museums around the world are not a prerequisite (although it all helps). It is not imperative to declare your financial status either (although efficient auction houses and galleries will do their research). In many ways, it is the most unfettered and liberating position to be in the art world – and the most essential. This is especially true in a new market such as the scene that has emerged in Dubai during the past two decades.