New Investments in Collectionair Will Make MENA Art Global

Mohamad Salhab, Mar 24 2016

An Imprint, by Radhika Khimji 

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The global art market has been growing at a fast pace. It more than doubled in value the past ten years reaching $57 billion in 2014, the highest ever-recorded level, according to the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF).

Moreover, global online art sales amounted to approximately $2.64 billion in 2014, and are expected to reach $6.3 billion by 2019 as per Statista.

It is in this context that Abu Dhabi’s media arm, twofour54, has recently bought a stake in Collectionair, a UAE-based online gateway into art from emerging markets. Details of the deal have not been released.

Meet the Region’s Curator

Collectionair provides art lovers with a globally accessible marketplace and a sharing community to buy, rent, and swap works from the comfort of their home.

Within the platform, users can also tour virtual exhibitions, learn about artists’ journeys and cultural insights, and read professional opinions on the pieces available.  

It was among the first batch of startups launched in the first cycle of Flat6labs’ accelerator program in 2015.

Art from Across the Desert

According to an ArtTactic Middle East Auction Analysis Report from 2015, total sales of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East amounted to $14.7 million. The study included comparative analysis between Bonhams, Christie's, and Sotheby's.

Since its inception in 2005, Christie’s Dubai has sold more than $150 million in contemporary Middle Eastern art - bolstered by international participation in the sales.

Collectionair is building a strong network of partners to ensure the quality of the art they source is always maintained. This includes established art curators, artist residencies, art schools, and galleries from around the world, including London, New York, and Dubai.

“Our online platform not only gives the chance for art lovers to discover and experience hand-picked works from exciting new markets, but we also give emerging artists the possibility to exhibit on a globally curated stage,”said Valerie Konde, founder of Collectionair.

Influx of Investment Boosters

 DASH Ventures, a leading early stage venture capital firm in Jordan, has also invested in Collectionair to support the startup in developing its platform for customers. Omar J. Sati, Managing Director of DASH Ventures, said the funds from this round will go towards expanding the team, sourcing artwork, and inking key strategic partnerships.

“Collectionair has built a unique and compelling business model with a focus on emerging artists from underrepresented regions,” said Sati.

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