Published On: Sun, Jul 24th, 2016

Alturaash determined to upkeep the prestige of Indian art and artists: Asif Kamal

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asiffMumbai: Asif Kamal is an Indian businessman based in Dubai, leading Alturaas Group. The Group Deals in IT, General Trading, Art Gallery, Auction House, Infrastructures, Art Fund, Oil n Gas etc. Asif was born on 10th October 1989 in an Indian Muslim Family. He started business in his college days and established his business headquarter in Dubai. He found the Group in 2010 and Launched their Art venture in 2011 and in the next step the Group launched Artfund of 500 crore Indian rupees in 2014, they are now ready for their first ever Auction for Selective Indian Modern and Contemporary Art .
Asif Kamal, the Founder of Alturaash Art Gallery, Director of Alturaash Auction, Founder of Alturaash Art, Managing Director of Alturaash Infra Private Limited, Founder and Promoter of Alturaash ArtFund and Director of Alturaash Group an MBA, said, “My Vision to promote Indian Art Internationally and make this trade more commercial for young investors as well as existing Investor and collectors.” He also added, that, “At the age of 21 I felt my love and affection for Art, and being an Indian I feel special affection for our Modern Art and Artist. Now it has became my passion and when I am passionate about something I go extreme efforts to my passion. I studied and researched about Indian artists and their art. I have always considered law of enforcers in our Indian modern art. By the time I was completing my master I was equally educating myself about art and art market around the world. I started meeting our Indian masters and came to know more about our art and art industry.”

Alturaash Art Gallery and Alruraash Art Fund are the recent venture by the prestigious Alturaash Group based at Dubai in UAE. Alturaash group is a big holding company with the business interest in oil, gas and they have consultancy service also. The young energetic Director, Asif Kamal said, “I Believe that art and cultural things is not only money making concern but it is actually a great things to symbolise the culture of country by the artist and the mentation of brilliant brain behind every artwork, We always do the routine survey and always try to save plagiarism factors to enter in this trade wind”. He also added, “we are proud to have some of the most renowned and creative artist around the globe.”Alturaash” is world’s leading art gallery dealing in Asian and Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Arts and first ever organisation in the world who supports artist and their copyright holder to get their right as par Universal Copyright Convention 1952 by UNESCO.” Alturaash Art Gallery is also very much involved with in several cultural events as well as buying and selling art.
There are already many art houses in India and throughout the world, so what is the speciality of Alturaash Art Gallery? “We are here to promote the fair art deal. The common practice among the Indian art houses is to promote their own artists. They will put the price of a great work by a veteran painter for forty lakh rupees, while they put the price for a lesser talented young artist for one crore. Why so? Because they want to promote their own artist only, who is associated with the gallery. So that artist will sale through only that particular gallery and will produce artwork according to their demand. Who the hell these art houses to decide the price of an artwork? Only the art collector have the right to decide the price”, said Asif.

Asif describes, that if you today buy an artwork, tomorrow when you are selling this you should get more value for this. Like usually a canvas of Picasso will be rarely available and that too you have to pay in some million, only the work on paper etc. are available, but there also the price is always increasing. That’s how the foreigner established their art market. But unfortunately in the Indian market completely goes by the monopoly. You can see in one auction one artist is reaching to crore but in the next time it is going to ten lakh, why this is happening? Who is responsible for this?

Asif is worried on the auction house – corporate house – politician nexus. Once he went to a very eminent living artist’s home, where artist’s son was showing him the latest work by the artist. But Asif was insisted for some rare work, after his insistence the artist’s son dig out some very rare work of the artist. Asif took the photographs as well as some videography also, hoping that he will crack some good deal, but before he return to Dubai from Delhi, came to know that one auction house put the same artwork on their auction, on their auction announcement page they use the same images. In most of the cases, Indian auction houses print the auction catalogue even one month before the auction, but just for the eyewash they keep their process open online. Hawala money and huge black money involved in the art market.

Asif bought an artwork of Suza from a reputed Indian online auction house, for his own personal collection. Recently the same auction house opens the bid for paper work for their March 2015 auction. Asif applied with the paper provided by the same auction house but have not got any response from them. Even he tried to contact the staffs of the auction house but, have not got any response. “Is this the way this business should run? You are not honouring your own paperwork?” angrily questioned Asif.

Asif, had asked once, one of the Delhi’s top gallery owner, who basically have started from the scratch and now he is a king of the art market, that how he see this art industry? And the gallery owner replied that, “this is not industry, it is a ballgame of a very few rich and classy people.” As Asif wanted to see the art market as forex, like where even the young generation will keep a tap on the art on day to day basis like sensex. People should invest in art and also get the good return out of it. Where the gallery owner claims that, if someone comes to him to buy art for investment or for resale, he will never sale his art to that person. Asif explains that the gallery owner keep the price so exuberantly on higher side, that they are afraid that once they have sold, they have successfully make fool to the client, then why should they buy the artwork back for reselling? Because they will never get higher rate as they have already sold it for much higher proportion.
“What is the harm, if someone buys an art today for investment purpose and sale it after twenty years for a good price?” Asif also added that, “I want art should be treated as a liquid commodity like gold. Today various company giving loan against the gold, it should be applicable for art also.” “So if someone is saying that art is not for investment that means he is not justifying for the art market. Then why you are coming to the office every morning on time and also bringing in your second generation in this business? Why you want to synchronise the market only for few people? Why can’t the young generation or the new buyer also take part of the process? That means what you are doing is not transparent at all…” claim Asif.
“Our seniors in the art industry never encouraging the new generation treat art as an asset. If you buy a work of Tayeb Mehta for 23 crore and next year if you can’t even earn one crore out of it, that means the system is not in place. But same time if you buy an art of Picasso, it is sure that the next year the price will be surely up, that’s how the international art market function, with complete transparency”, said Asif. “In US, Paris, London people are trading on art. People are buying Chinese art from Hong Kong today and after six month they are putting it in an auction and selling it with profit. But in India, they just want to keep the trade among a very few rich people, with no transparency, and what is happening in between you only you know. Among one hundred twenty five crore Indian only six galleries doing the business and keeping this into them only. If you are transparent you should come open like any other business.”

Asif continues, “Why we started the Alturaash art fund, simply because in India when you purchase an art you have to pay more than twelve percent tax, and when you sale the art then also you have to pay the same tax plus twenty percent commission to the auction house, so it is coming together about thirty three percent. Where in Dubai the taxation process is quite easy. We have studied and surveyed the life of Indian artists, we have found that a person who is earning ten thousand rupees per month even he is in a better position than some of our well known veteran artists. In Alturaash we follow the International Convention of Copyright Act. To help the Indian artists, where three point five percent goes to the copyright holder. It can be the artist or artist’s family or trust.”

Asif also describes the criteria of the copyright holder. “In India the tradition is in absence of the artist the son or daughter or the trust is giving the authentication certificate. It is just like the feudal system, that king’s son will become king only. But in international standard they will see how much expertise you have on your father’s work. Have you studied or followed the style or strokes of your own father? It does matter over there. That’s why professional art adviser’s role is more important here. They study one or few artists work throughout then they gain the expertise for reliable authentication. Not like in India, here the copyright holder take some lakh of rupees and will give you authentication letter.”

According to Asif, the Indian auction house does not justify on the master artists, like in auction they put about fifteen to twenty pieces of master and one or two pieces by contemporary artist. Where the master’s average price is lower than the contemporary artist. But in international auction houses they will never showcase more than two to three masters in one auction. That’s why their masters price is always high and it is increasing day by day.
The Indian auction houses are not making any masters from the contemporary artists. There is a huge difference between an artist and an instructor. There are amazing artists living in a very shamble condition while some instructor giving instruction on a digital print or assembling structure, and you call them artist or sculptor. All your interest is to make people fool and gain as much as money possible to sale these sorts of artist’s works. There were six galleries now the quantity is increasing in many folds. See there is an art gallery in every shopping mall. But unfortunately there are only twenty art collectors since last twenty years. Why the art collectors are not increasing? The young generation does not have the money or interest? The traditional art dealers want to synchronise the market so they only can get the benefit out of it. And they have huge political and corporate back up, as strong support.

If you go to one gallery they will suggest you to buy from them or their associate galleries those are belong to the same lobby. If you ask anything from the other galleries, those who are not belong to their lobby, they will clearly say that, they are sailing fake art. So if they are not belonging to your lobby then they are selling fake art, who the hell you are to decide on art? Asif questioned angrily.

“In the art galleries and the auction the prices should not varied much difference. Like one art work got sold in an international auction on twenty crore while the same in India coming down to two crore. This is unethical, you are confusing the collector the buyer. Instead of doing this malpractice you should be transparent to your buyer. Variation of price should be nominal and correct valuation of the art should be there. “Once I have bought an art work of Jagdish Swaminathan in ninety lakh rupees, after some days I have asked an Indian auction for valuation they told me it should be sixty five lakh only, while I have also contacted Bonham’s and they gave me the valuation of ninety lakh to one crore fifteen lakh. That is the difference between the Indian and international auction house,” said Asif.
“The artists use to sale their work as a piece of art on say two thousand or twenty thousand or twenty five lakh rupees, but who started to sale art on square feet basis? These are the persons who said that art is not for investment,” said Asif.

“Why should people go to Dubai or particularly Alturaash to buy or invest in art?” Asif continues – “Online any one can buy art from anywhere in the world. In Alturaash we are providing the best valuation and authenticated by the international unbiased experts or professionals. We are believe in proper trail of paper work. We just follow the international business policy and standard, that is our USP. If you buy and art from us we will surely entertain you to sale it through our next auction, if the paperwork is on place. This is the guarantee we offer to our clients”, explain Asif.

Asif’s advice for the your collectors is that, one need to study on art and the particular artists he is interested in. There are international directories which will gave you the complete trail of the artist’s up and down, prices variation, and the position in various auction in various countries. Like one is studying the stock market before investment on the same way investors also should gain more knowledge so that no one can take them for granted. “Kiran Nadar, Parameshwar Godrej they all are respected name as collector, but it did not happened one day, they are collecting art for several years. It is a also a process of time, it is not for short gain,” sign off Asif, the twenty four your old young charismatic Director of Alturaash Art Gallery and Alturaash Art Fund.

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