Art collecting is a labor of love. As a curator and gallery owner, I absolutely love beautiful art and studying the process of master artists. I venture to share this love with my clients and to inspire in them a desire to curate for their own homes and offices. Many folks approach high art from a distance as if it were out of their league; and I daily work to change that mindset. Art is just as vital and intrinsic to daily life as good food. The human spirit thrives on beauty, color and wonder. Stellar art offers these qualities and more, making it a necessity in living a life filled with joy and verve.

My specialty is African art collecting, and I strongly feel that the genre poignantly expresses the life-giving properties of great art for both the artist and the viewer. In West Africa, where I lived and worked for many years, art is an integral part of everyday life. The whole family and community participate in art making regularly, whether it be visual, musical, or even culinary. The children are very early on given the freedom to express themselves artistically and often this serves a healing function when faced with systemic corruption and widespread poverty. Many of the artists in our Lagos collective are youth who utilize art as a pathway to empowerment and self sufficiency.

Here in the West we can benefit greatly from the tangible expressions of contemporary African art and culture, as a way to free us from the ego mind and rigid linear viewpoints. The art itself speaks to our deepest selves and opens up portals to transcendence and enlightenment. As I have witnessed in my 3+ years in business here, Hampton Roads residents are becoming more and more keen to step into art collection. They come into my galleries a bit bemused at first and then leave with an intention to become more art savvy (and often with a newly purchased artwork in hand). You too can join the movement to share in the Afropolitan experience through Art. It’s not as foreign as you might think.

The key steps to delving into the art market and becoming a buyer are intuition, passion and love. Full stop. It is important when building a collection that you go with what speaks to you and resonates with your heart. Having a work that makes your heart sing every time you look at it is the most valuable asset an art buyer can have. Certainly if the work has a strong provenance by an artist with a renowned pedigree, all the better. However, your loving the work is fundamental. Good artworks in general will appreciate in value; and what a sensational feeling to discover years down the road that an artist’s piece you purchased from your heart is suddenly a prominent star in the market.

At Pure Lagos African Art Gallery we educate our clients in the history and cultural foundations of the artworks we sell; and aim to unite a collector’s love for a piece with a backstory that speaks to them. Art can be immensely healing and uplifting; so it is vital, I believe, that we all have at least one special work in our homes and several in our offices. Family, friends and clients who come into your space will be instantly transported by pieces of art from the African continent. They will have shifts in their ethos and transformations in their consciousness as they relate to and engage with the vibrant creative artistic expressions. Settling for mass produced prints or generic pop art is not ideal when you really want to bring true life to a space and invigorate the energy with authenticity and love. I challenge you to venture into the art world and let your heart lead you to that magnificent piece or two that enlivens your soul. This first step will make a bonafide art collector out of you; and once you begin, the sky’s the limit.

~ Sia Alexander