How to place Australian art in the hands of important international collectors

The art world is tough. Insuring and freighting Australian artists to important International Art Fairs is risky, time consuming and expensive for local galleries.

Last week at one of Asia’s hottest fairs, a prominent Hong Kong business tycoon and high profile Belgium collector collected works by Australian emerging artists who are represented by .M Contemporary from Woollahra, NSW.

From day one the Australian gallery was noticed. .M Contemporary was voted in the top 10 stands at the fair, and their installation by artist Hannah Quinlivan also made waves for them in The PROJECT sector.


.M Contemporary’s approach was to present three very different contemporary artists of including; Pakistan born Australian artist Mehwish Iqbal, installation artist Hannah Quinlivan and one of South Africa’s leading artists, the painter and sculptor Lionel Smit.

“High profile collectors as well as curators, institutional directors, and renowned patrons all frequent Art Central. The Fair is important for developing a gallery’s network and recognition. We have successfully placed Hannah Quinlivan’s work, part of PROJECTS sector into the corporate collection of Gaw Capital, and we have sold the works of Mehwish Iqbal, presented for the first time in an international art fair in Asia, to an independent Belgian collector Alain Servais,” said Gallery Director and Founder Michelle Paterson.


According to Paterson, the work she selects for major art fairs, must fulfil two critical criteria. “Number one I look for artists who have a strong technical foundation in drawing, painting and sculpting. Then I look for artists, who really want to change the world with their work,” said Paterson following her successful week of selling.

Alain Servais who collected Mehwish’s work is a high profile collector for his family’s collection The Henri Servais Foundation. He was drawn to Mehwish’s work, because it is concerned with forced migration, the role of women in culture and the commodification of human agency. Servais is well known in both Hong Kong and Brussels and has previously stated his likes and dislikes in the BMW Art Guide recently.


“My still-growing knowledge of art history convinces me every day, that the art worth collecting, that the art people will want to see in 30 years time, is always closely related to the socio, politico economic context of the society it develops in.”

Tycoon Goodwin Gaw is a Stanford educated businessman and engineer, who is head of Gaw Capital Partners. Gaw Capital is a real estate private equity fund management company that focuses on markets in Greater China. The work he purchased from .M Contemporary at Art Central was an installation work made specifically for Fair. This piece was sold to Gaw corporate collection and will now be shown at his offices on Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay. The installation will also be flanked by two new paintings Gaw has commissioned from Quinlivan.

.M Contemporary’s Australian artists, both in their thirties, were gushing after the Fair closed on Friday 25.

The first was Hannah Quinlivan an installation artist from Canberra, ACT. Her vast body of work explores the unsettled and transient flow of memories and the inescapably connection between memory and the real. For Quinlivan, artworks are the embodiment of transient memories and mental conceptions, making something real and lasting from the fleeting and endlessly pliable. This year at Art Central Quinlivan created a large wire sculpture, which was suspended from the ceiling and beneath which she created a live salt drawing to capture the dynamism of the fair.


The second was Mehwish Iqbal, an Australian, Pakistani artist. She studied painting at National College of Arts Pakistan, graduating in 2002 and lived in Dubai for three years before moving to Australia to do her Masters of Fine Arts – printmaking at University of New South Wales. Since finishing her studies she has been shown in a range of small galleries and artist run spaces locally and internationally. In 2016 she worked from The Parramatta Artist Studios and became a finalist in the 64th Blake Prize. At Art Central in Hong Kong she presented embroidered works on paper, small crocheted works and a set of porcelain sculptures. She was thrilled to see her work migrate to Brussels and she will now continue to show at oversea Fairs throughout the rest of 2017.

For more information visit .M Contemporary