Be it fashion or fast food, having an online presence is essential for a business to thrive today. With the Google Art Project, for instance, the importance of e-commerce was reinforced. It revolutionalised the way the world looked at art online. High resolution images, three-dimensional gallery effects and immaculate zoom-in features, really changed the way art is viewed from the comfort of one’s own house.
Pakistan is also catching up, with most existing art galleries boasting online components. However, there still isn’t a standalone professional online art gallery that connects local artists to the globe. Zainab Omar, a passionate art collector and an entrepreneur, was quick to realise this dearth in the market and has launched a purely online art gallery — Myartworld.org. The website, which is already active and running, will feature over 100 artists from around the country.
“I have been an art lover and collector for a while,” says Omar, “And I want to give Pakistani talent an opportunity to showcase their work on a more global level.” Omar, who was brought up in London and moved to Pakistan in 1989, feels that Pakistanis living abroad frequently visit Pakistan to meet friends and family but they hardly get time to have a look at art galleries and their archives. My Art World aims to cater this particular market along with the international art circuit.
Omar confesses that it was her son Adil Omar’s success as a musician that made her realise the significance of e-business. “Over the years, I saw my son’s career take off. From being just a musician in his room, he turned into an artist with an international fan following,” says Omar proudly. “Also, there was this one time that I really liked Komail Aijazuddin’s work. I wanted to buy it immediately and I was able to online.”
This particular encounter made her wonder that if she was willing to buy online, there may be others waiting for a similar opportunity, too. “When people visit our country, they are only able to view seasonal collections at art galleries. [But] this new portal will offer an artist’s portfolio, allowing the viewer to get familiar with the artist’s style and mood,” she emphasises.
NCA graduate Zara Sajid will be working as the curator for the online gallery. “It will be a very different kind of gallery,” asserts Sajid. Apart from having online shows, any show that they curate physically will be uploaded in a 3D version so that the viewers can get the exact same experience as they would for real. “The website will recreate virtual gallery spaces whereby the viewer can go to different rooms to view different collections, change the angle from which they view it and also have an enhancing zoom-in feature,” says Sajid.
In order to tap into the niche Pakistani market abroad, the online gallery will have representatives at All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) and The Citizens Foundation events and Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) conferences.
While contemporary Pakistani art will be the website’s forte, there is a special collectables’ page that will allow clients to view and buy antiques, manuscripts, paintings and old contracts that private collectors are willing sell. “This will be a great opportunity for those who want to invest in Sadequain’s or Iqbal Mehdi’s jewels, amulets, carpets and items that have a high value,” says Omar. “The main issue is of the authenticity of these items and, for that purpose, we will be providing certificates,” she adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2013.