In Praise of an Extraordinary and Creative Asset

In Praise of an Extraordinary and Creative Asset

Salma Shaheem, head of Middle Eastern markets at The Fine Art Group, talks to Artscoops about the rising popularity of Contemporary art, the challenges that regional unrest has produced and what’s hanging in her apartment

What advice do you give an enthusiast who’s looking to buy their first piece of art? 

If you have found an artwork that has captured your interest, the best advice I can give is to study the artist and their career. Research is very important when we look at acquiring art, so I would say it’s imperative to learn about the artist.

How does it differ from the conversation you’d have with a seasoned collector looking to add to their collection?

Seasoned collectors are acquainted with the education process that is involved with the acquisition of art, so the buying process becomes more precise; we are looking at specific artworks to enhance and complement the collection.


Salma Shaheem
Photo courtesy of The Fine Art Fund Middle East.

What buying patterns and trends across the regional art market have you noted in recent years? 

There is a rise in appetite for Contemporary art from the region; we are seeing more Contemporary Middle Eastern artists in global institutions and collections.


How have regional uncertainty and conflict affected the market and the art itself?

I think the Modern market is suffering from issues such as authenticity, theft and looting. Many of the Middle Eastern Modern masters come from countries that suffer from political and economic turmoil. 


What has been the impact on the market of the growing diaspora producing art outside of their homeland?

Art is a real, moveable asset; Middle Eastern artists gain recognition for the quality of their work and the depth of the subject they are discussing through their creativity. 

Photo courtesy of The Fine Art Fund Middle East.


Does art always have to be a long-term investment or is there room for short-term gain?

Having a short-term view can be detrimental to the market of a young, Contemporary artist. However, in more established markets we have seen very high returns in a short period of time (in art market terms, short term is 12-18 months), although this was an unusual occurrence in the secondary, private market.


Will you share some of your own personal ‘buys’ and tell us what’s on your walls at home?

I was gifted a beautiful 1960s’ black and white portrait of the incredible Lucien Freud, photographed by the renowned Cecil Beaton. I cherish it and it hangs in the entrance of my apartment. 


About Fine Art Middle East

Fine Art Middle East (FAME) is a partner of The Fine Art Group in Dubai; launched in 2012 by The Fine Art Group and Salma Shaheem to offer collectors in the Middle East guidance through the global art market and alternative investment opportunities. With the Group’s art knowledge, financial expertise and global networks, combined with Salma’s deep understanding of the Middle Eastern art market, FAME has carved a niche for itself working closely with collectors and institutions. FAME’s primary objective is to work closely with clients to help create financially sound collections built on the clients taste and passion for art.

Sign in to your account to get exclusive access to new works, receive personalised experiences and place bids.

Forgot your password?