x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Artist establishes Abu Dhabi's first art leasing service

Matt McCobb's art leasing venture gives people the chance to surround themselves with original art for half the price.

The artist Matt McCobb says:
The artist Matt McCobb says: "The main idea is to get artwork out there and to give people the -opportunity to be around art that they like without actually having to buy it." Silvia Razgova / The National

Have you ever wanted to buy an original artwork only to be stopped by the price tag or uncertainty about whether it will maintain its value?

Matt McCobb, a British artist who moved to Abu Dhabi last year, has come up with a solution: art leasing.

"People are unsure of what to buy when it comes to art," he says. "They might be put off buying something that they like because they think it is not a good investment, or they might want to buy a valuable piece but they don't like the look of it. This gives them a way around that."

Through a service called JoKaMa Art Charters, McCobb has gathered the work of 25 emerging artists into a catalogue. Each piece rents for five per cent of its value; McCobb offers short and long-term leasing options.

Attracting and encouraging new collectors is not the primary aim of his service, he says. "The main idea is to get artwork out there and to give people the opportunity to be around art that they like without actually having to buy it."

Whether someone is hosting a private party or a business event, he says, he wants to encourage them to consider art as an important element.

"As well as thinking about flowers and catering, the art on the walls can be part of the entertainment for the guests. If it is a wedding, they could hang the bride's favourite and the groom's favourite and maybe a generous guest would buy them as a gift."

As part of the service, McCobb will hang the work, arrange the lighting and be on hand to monitor the work. For longer-term leases, he says he speaks to clients about loaning art for rotating exhibitions. Individuals are welcome to hire art for their homes and exchange it whenever they like, he says.

To launch the service, McCobb unveiled an exhibition of work by the 25 artists on Saturday at the Abu Dhabi Art Hub in Mussafah. The exhibition is a precursor to a live art sale set scheduled for later this month at the Art Hub. All proceeds will go to charity.

"I've only been in the UAE less than a year but from what I see I don't think people are exposed to much art," says McCobb. "Unless you are already interested and take the time to go to galleries, you only see hotel art and what you see in the media, which is very limited. So the idea of this is to get people to see more art.

"There is such a massive interest in art in Abu Dhabi, especially with the Saadiyat Island development, so I think why not try to encourage that at every level?"

The Charity Art Sale in aid of Operation Smile will be at Abu Dhabi Art Hub in Mussafah on June 22 at 7pm. Until then, art is on display for viewing at the Art Hub. For more information visit www.adah.ae

aseaman@thenational.ae

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