So you want to bring a little creativity to your home? It needn't break the bank
1 Ayyam Gallery is a definite resource for any first-time collector. Aside from exhibitions of the frontline in Syrian talent, Ayyam also hosts a Young Collectors Auction quarterly. This wonderfully caustic early work by Sabhan Adam is expected to fetch between Dhs29,385 and Dhs44,078 at auction. www.ayyamgallery.com.
2…Also be sure to have a look through Ayyam Editions: these signed and numbered prints by the biggest names in the gallery’s stable are the perfect way to kick-start a collection. The better-known of Ayyam’s bunch (like this rather fine example by photographer Ammar Al-Beik) can go for up to Dhs36,731, but prints by major artists can be snapped up for between Dhs1,837 and Dhs9,183.
3 Nazif Topçuoglu is becoming one of Turkey’s most eminent and recognisable photographers. His shots of Turkish girls, kitted out in vaguely boarding school-style attire, depict scenes of power tussles that bristle with suppressed violence. Subtly dark stuff, and a surefire conversation starter for any collection, no matter what the pricing. Green Art Gallery represents Topçuoglu in Dubai and he’s a worthy investment, we say. Snap him up before he gets too well-known, too big and way too expensive. www.gagallery.com.
4 Working under a neon strip-light, Farzan Sadjadi piles on household paint to depict scenes from the apocalyptic-looking suburb of Tehran that he calls home. Prisons on fire, wolves caught mid-snarl – it’s all quite dramatic in this young painter’s inner life, and nowhere more so than in this 2010 work, ‘Bicycle Suicide Bomber’. Expressive stuff. With works ranging between Dhs16,529 and Dhs728,650 at Carbon 12, Sadjadi is worth keeping an eye on as his next few years will be pivotal. www.carbon12dubai.com.
5 Gallery IVDE in Al Serkal Avenue has recently hosted an exceptional show of young Iranian talent. Niyaz Azadikhah’s video pieces use the shape of a woman wrapped in chador to create complex, fantastical landscapes and, as in the case here, a pole-dancer. The mark of a true collector is to have variety of media: don’t be afraid to mix up a collection with video. www.ivde.net.
6 Sculpture is always a good centrepiece for any collection. But it rarely comes cheap. So why not pick up one of Amir H. Fallah’s paintings of his own sculptures instead, such as this marvellous example from 2006, ‘Stacked.’ The Third Line has works by Fallah ranging from Dhs18,365 up to a hefty Dhs91,829, and the artist is rapidly gaining attention both from appearances in major international shows and his LA-based art rag, Beautiful/Decay, a bi-monthly. www.thethirdline.com.
7 Don’t go down the usual commercial gallery route when you’re starting out: buy directly from the artist (less cash, great experience). At Sketch – held almost monthly at thejamjar – artists congregate, work on a piece there and then, and stick it up on the wall at a maximum price of Dhs50. This is a good place to pick up street art-inspired pieces. www.thejamjardubai.com.
8 Since Traffic moved to focusing more on contemporary art than design, it has exhibited some affordable emerging talent. Take Dubai-based painter Hesam Rahmanian, with ‘National Shoe II’ pictured here. Works from this series are still very affordable, but with Rahmanian exhibiting in London’s Paradise Row space in 2011, all this looks set to change. A good investment on a young, new painter. www.viatraffic.org.
9 Combing the auctions can be a great way to get your collection off the ground. Christie’s holds regular contemporary sales, and includes a number of entry-level lots, with estimates starting around the Dhs18,365 mark, some pieces are accessible for young collectors. There are some bigger hitters, too, such as this sculpture by the Turkish artist Yasemin Aslan Bakiri in the April sale. Expected to fetch between Dhs73,462 and Dhs91,827, this mixed media work would have a strong presence in any collection. www.christies.com.
10 Mojo Gallery is daringly international in a scene otherwise dominated by regional art. With shows of artists from new markets – the gallery had a recent run of African art exhibitions – prices can be more affordable. Have a look through the catalogue: this photographic work by Cameroonian artist Angèle Etoundi Essamba is particularly easy to live with. www.themojogallery.com.