Why is art the top alternative investment choice for Asia’s wealthy?

These Millennial collectors are not only purchasing art for the first time, but they are doing so with the long-term view of building world-class collections that can grow over time, in both cultural and financial value.

“This is a global trend but young Singaporeans are showing a leading initiative in this movement,” observed Art Works Group’s Young. “This, paired with a great generational wealth transfer, allows those who are passionate about art to profit from art collecting and investing.”

NMP Chandradas stresses the importance of growing the younger collector base, as patronage is an important part of the creative economy. Acquiring and collecting art helps to fuel the development of artists’ practices, and is an investment into the cultural development of any society.

“Many young professionals, for example, have the disposable income to collect art,” she said. “As I’ve mentioned previously in Parliament, if you can afford a designer handbag, you can certainly afford a piece of art. The question is then, how do we reach out to and educate newer would-be collectors with sufficient disposable income, to encourage them to invest in art?”

In the future, Chandradas hopes to see more private collectors’ museums being set up and made open to the public, to educate the community about the value and joy of art and art acquisitions.

One example is The Culture Story in Thye Hong Centre on Leng Kee Road, which was set up by FOFA’s Chong and her father, Chong Huai Seng, in 2017. The pair use their private art space as a platform to hold exhibitions and talks, in the hopes of fostering networking and promoting art connoisseurship.

In the end, many of those operating in the arts space feel that art should not be viewed merely as a financial instrument, but as a tangible asset class that transcends financial metrics, embodying cultural heritage and aesthetic value for generations to come.

By taking a one-dimensional perspective on art, one actually loses sight of what makes an artwork inspirational, provocative, and able to endure the test of time – which ironically reduces a collector’s potential to spot and uncover true gems,” said Shuyin Yang, fair director of ART SG.

“While art investments can certainly be lucrative, the bigger investment that you make when you buy a piece of art, is your contribution to the development of the creative soul of your community,” said NMP Chandradas.

“Ultimately, art collecting is a passion and most of the collectors I know have certainly had works go up in value, but often they hold onto the works because they can’t bear to part with them anyway,” said The Artling’s Tay.

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