One of the questions Christina J. Chua gets asked most often is, “How can I invest in art?”
“I think Singaporeans are a pragmatic society, so the dollar value [of art] is still important,” she says. “If art was collected only for the passion of it, we’d see many more collectors.”
As the director of education and consultancy at Metis Art, an advisory and education group, Chua knows a thing or two about that. Co-founded by Chua and entrepreneur Cliff Hartono, it is an art advisory that guides collectors in understanding and navigating the global art market.
Chua describes Metis Art as a way to close the gap between two sectors of the art world, one that is concerned with art history and academia, and the other that focuses on commercial activity and business.
“The art world is perhaps the most mediatised and yet misunderstood industry out there,”
she says. The language of the art world can be opaque, given its academic esoterism, breadth of concepts and specialised lexicon. And the art market, with its fluctuations, prices and hype, is difficult to see through.
To bring more clarity to the art world, especially for new collectors, Metis Art launched The Tetrad, a foundational course, earlier this year. The curriculum covers the broad strokes of art history as it relates to major world events and developments; the art ecosystem, made up of galleries, museums, fairs, auction houses and other institutions; valuation and investment; trends in the art world and a deep dive into “art speak”.
Half the proceeds from The Tetrad sessions will be donated to local arts non-profits, such as STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery, Deck, Art Outreach and Oh! Open House.
“We’re in it for the long haul, to develop not just collectors or buyers of art but also patrons,” Chua explains. “That’s the first step, realising that there are great and important non-profit art organisations, and then you take steps to not just adorn your wall but also support your local
From launching her commercial art career at Ota Fine Arts to managing contemporary
art gallery YeoWorkshop, to co-founding and editing experimental art practices publication
so-far.online, Chua is firmly committed to furthering art education.
“The longevity of art collecting that Metis Art is here for, that’s why we do the courses,” she says. “There’s something deeper to be learnt than just buying and collecting art, and hopefully that’s one with sustainable and philanthropic goals in mind.”