From an early age a person is a collector. The child picks twigs, dead insects, colourful beads and stones of different sizes and shapes and puts these random, ordinary and worthless objects as precious possessions. Over the years, this list increases with accumulation of candy covers, erasures emanating sweet smells, dried flowers, peacock feathers, marbles, coins of defunct kingdoms and stamps of far off republics. The habit of acquiring personal items has no limits, since it may include books, electronic gadgets, cars, houses, expensive accessories and even whole cricket teams and entire islands.
And art too. Whether they can afford or not, many wish to own works of art. To some the origin, state and status of an art piece are crucial, while for several others, these are merely academic details/debates. Regardless of its originality or its authorship (by a great artist or not) often the main motive behind choosing a work of art is its visual appeal – usually described as beauty. Hence from calendars to posters of paintings, reproductions of masterpieces to real canvases and bronzes, all these areproudly displayed at prime positions in small flats as well as in huge houses.
Actually in terms of collecting, art is different from other objects in many respects. Although in many instances it is perceived as a big investment, but in most cases, the carving or cause for collecting art has its unique impulse/reason. Because by acquiring anything else, a person is showing his good taste, wealth and power (perhaps to impress others), but with art, besides all of these, it is a way of admitting, accepting and acknowledging the superiority of someone else: Of a creative person, who through his material, medium, technique, imagery – and idea made another person to pay for his own pleasure of making an object (defined as art).
Thus a work of art at a collector’s place denotes not only good taste of the owner, but his appreciation for another individual’s creative and intellectual efforts in producing a unique work – primarily, essentially and initially for his own delight/need. But the works of art, once out of an artist’s studio become different entities. These turn into elements/codes to construct the shape culture in a society. It is the same if one looks at the art pieces at a collectors’ house, because these convey history of a certain age and region. But more than that, these works also communicate a person’s version and vision of art from a certain era and area.
Art Now Pakistan in the present issue intends to discover and describe these personal histories and narrative of art through the views of private collectors. Both AasimAkhtar and MadyhaLegharihave examined the act of collection and the need, effect and impact of having private collection of art. Jamal Ashqian in his photo-essay deals with the same theme, though using a different mode and point of view. The issue also includes a real and a fictitious profile piece of two collectors. AasimAkhtar shared MobinaZuberi’s views, as she is known for her representation of female figures in her canvases, but also respected for buying works of important modern and new artists of Pakistan. Along with these, Mohammad Ali Talpur’s studio visit shares the creative process of an artist and the state of art before it leaves studio for the gallery, to finally reach at a collector’s place.
We feel that art making is important, but it is the first step in the vast world of art, and collection of art is also significant – and elegant, because in this age of digital photo albums, email correspondence, online publications (like Art Now Pakistan), the power of physical is still possible – mostly in the works of art!