by | 2023 Dec

03 December 2023 

For this year-end post, I would like to recap a very exciting 2023 with unbelievable beta for EKCART Asia across all collections. Our flagship JUANITA’S acquisition closed in May with final purchases at Bonham’s bringing the total works to 38. The book is in production under the creative direction of Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions in London. We hired a stellar scholar, Melissa Walt who is writing a book on Zao Wou-Ki, to write the book’s essay. Our estimated time of delivery for the book as of this writing is Q1 2024. 

All our Juanita artists have global museum representation and some have had shows and Biennales (the Venice ones, not the Dhaka or Kathmandu ones…) all over the world. But the best news to date came this week when the MET NY (Metropolitan Museum) announced that one of our female Taiwanese artists, Tong Yang Tze, will have her work gracing its Great Hall. Previously, she has had a large running script banner hanging in M+ Hong Kong’s Great Hall. The MET mentioned this. 

The second Frieze Seoul in September was my “new art fair” of the year. I vow to go to a new one every year just to expand my knowledge and eye and get ideas to diversify our portfolio. As it is, I am working on a Korean collection with a local dealer. Apparently classical Korean art is very undervalued and there are “certain” new names to watch. Watch this space for our next concept collection. 

At Frieze Seoul, I also finalised details for our latest collection, PASTEL PASSIONS (19c to the present) with London works on paper (WOP) and drawings dealer Stephen Ongpin Fine Arts (SOFA) who is one of the best in the world. SOFA is a regular participant in only the best fairs — TEFAF Maastricht and Frieze Masters in London and Seoul. I met Stephen originally because we both shared an interest in 18c French drawings. It took a couple of years, a few art fairs and meetings to decide on assembling a collection that foresees pastels as a future trend and the opportunity to acquire rare works in excellent condition. 

Last week we opened the pastel acquisitions with a Gustave Popelin (1859-1937) “Portrait of a Young Woman in Three-Quarter View” and “Untitled/Cabbages” (1963/64) by Sam Szafran (1934-2019) who is still relatively unknown but had a show at Paris’ L’Orangerie from September 2022- January 2023 attended by 330,000 people. 

CN Liew, our Malaysian HAPPY HEDGE (LGBTQ) artist with Kelvin Yang of Galerie du Monde in Hong Kong designed a glamorous two-tiered mooncake box for Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur using a work from our Fire series. Our work was also used for an ASEAN political meeting in Kuala Lumpur. 

At Frieze London in November, Hettie Reatchlous of ARTUNTAMED, our millennial dealer for TKE Residency and I picked up another Studio Lenca work called “Back of the Bus” which is not Jose Campos’ usual large portrait but is a meaningful work for him because as an immigrant he travelled “at the back of a bus” with his mother. 

Hettie and I visited Jose at the TKE residency in Margate where he kept us up with his news. He is the chosen designer in perpetuity for the Latin American Fashion Awards trophy. One of his large works has gone to PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami). This month, one of his smaller works (100×100 cm) hammered at Philips for 11,254 GBP. We bought ours, which are much bigger for 10,000 and 10,800 GBP. 

Later this month, I am also sending out a proposal to collectors for a  Classical Chinese Scholar’s Table collection  called TABLE FOR ONE which I am creating with Nader Rasti of RASTI FINE ART in Hong Kong, London and Beijing. Like Juanita, it will have a scholarly book to accompany the collection. This is called Table for One because the Chinese “Renaissance Man” or gentleman scholar  文人wenren sits alone among luxurious and intellectual accrouements in the privacy his study. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN to all EKCART ASIA collectors who believe in this project. I would also like to welcome our new collectors into this amazing world of education and expression where pictures can be seen in two ways — for current pleasure and future profit.