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Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.

                                 —Vincent Van Gogh

Interiors can be brought to life by presenting art in adequate spaces that can reflect personalities. Interiors without art is like an untied shoe, in that it is incomplete. One of the most important parts of putting together beautiful interiors is paying attention to the art. Every artwork demands its own space and it is very important to remember that while selecting art, it is never about the quantity. It is the quality of the artwork that matters the most. For committed connoisseurs, collecting art is like a journey and a projection of their inner soul.

For me, collecting art has been such a journey. My taste developed with age, experience and knowledge. I have been through several phases from the time I started serious collecting 10 years ago, and it took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to collect. Collecting art keeping the interiors in mind may be a bit challenging because one should acquire art one really likes and can relate to, rather than buying something to match the walls, curtains and sofa. Collecting a statement piece and designing a space in the home around it is what brings out the best of both by complimenting each other.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while collecting is to figure out what appeals to you the most. Is it old masters? Modern art? Contemporary art? Is it from your own country, or you are open to international artists as well?

For me, though it took me a while, I figured out that my interest lies in contemporary art and I tend to go for artists who are my contemporaries. For me, it is very important to see an artist’s journey. Very rarely has it happened to me that I saw some artist’s work and went for it.

It is very important for me to learn about the artist’s entire body of work before I start collecting a new artist, seeing their journey and previous works that help me understand where the artist is coming from.

I believe that the first rule of thumb for new collectors would be to see as much as possible. Visit museums and galleries and try to learn and see as much as you can before figuring out what actually appeals to you. Start looking to see before you start looking to buy.

Art has endless different forms. One should never think that an oil on canvas is always better than a print. It is the concept behind the work that matters. ‘‘Size does matter" is never applicable when it comes to art. A small drawing could mean a lot more than a life-size canvas. This is very important to understand because as collectors, once you have acquired an art, you live and grow old with it.

A collector should always invest in proper lighting. It is essential to properly light the artworks in order for them to make proper impact on the viewer. Investing in quality framing also makes a huge difference. The framing should always compliment the artwork. When designing interiors, the frame should go with the work rather than the décor of the house.

My last and the most important tip for the new collector is to never think that art always has to be serious, it could also be something fun and playful and you should enjoy it. It takes intelligence to be humorous.

Nadia Samdani is a Dhaka-based art collector and, with her husband, runs a not-for-profit foundation called Samdani Art Foundation that organizes the Dhaka Art Summit.

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