You don't have to stay peering in at the windows of the art world. There is more affordable art out there, whose prices can freshen up the market with some new buyers, and get original artwork into people's homes.
That's the spirit driving tonight's Young Collectors Auction at Ayyam Art Centre in Al Quoz, Dubai, where you can pick up affordable artwork by familiar names from the region.
Ayyam's YCAs are firmly in their stride now, as its director Hisham Samawi steps behind the auctioneer's podium this evening to settle the 75 lots. "We have great works from all over the Arab world as well as a big presence from Iran and Turkey," says Samawi. "It's an affordable range of estimates, between US$1,000 and $10,000 [Dh3,700-36,700].
"Auctions can often be a place to buy great pieces at good value. Consignors [those selling the work] sometimes put low reserves on lots in the hope that they can entice bidders to start fighting over a piece. But more often than not such lots go to a single bidder, letting them win it at a below-market price."
Samawi notes that the key to success is finding what you like, and bidding to a price you are comfortable with.
One compelling piece is Warrior Head II by the sculptor Mustafa Ali. He hosts a wonderful workshop-cum-cafe in the centre of the Old Town and this lot gets our shout simply for its affordability. Ali's larger sculptures fetch big prices when they're exhibited. The high moulded eye sockets and serene expression offset by visceral tussles etched into the material are hallmarks of Ali's technique. This is an opportunity to own a little bit of Syria's recent art history at a palatable price.