x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Smart art

Mehreen Rizvi Khursheed, 42, is head of Middle Eastern and Southern Asian art at Bonhams in London, and has helped bring many Indian and Pakistani artists to international attention.

Try to become a collector and not an investor in art. This will always pay off in the long run. I always get asked which artist is a good investment; that is not the main criteria if one is collecting. I always try to buy the best work by an artist I can afford within my budget. Research artists, their CVs, where they are going and how they are they evolving, and enjoy the work, try to live with it. If it increases in value as good-quality art always does, you will have made a good investment.

Integrity and honesty is always the best policy. In the art world these days, with so many fakes, there are a lot of people out there taking advantage of artists or new collectors. They think they can make big money in the short term, but in the long run reputation in the art world is all that you have. Without that no matter how much knowledge or contacts you have your career will be a short one.

The art world is not always glamorous. People always see you at previews and art fairs and think being in the art world means attending one party after another, but it is a gruelling schedule of deadlines, travel and lifting heavy paintings full of spider's webs. It takes years of underpaid training jobs to get to a specialist level. Guilt can take away the pleasure of being a parent. I have to learn to stop feeling guilty about not being with my children all the time and dedicating my life to them like other mothers. I'm working on that lesson of balancing career with the most important job in the world - being a mum.

Thank God for the tiny pleasures of life, such as getting a wet kiss on the nose from your three-year old trying to wake you up at 5am at the weekend. Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern, Iranian and South East Asian art auction, Monday, October 11 One & Only Royal Mirage, Dubai.