Socialite and tireless charity worker Amanda Lau’s passion for the preservation of Chinese heritage knows no bounds, and has led her to collect a number of works by contemporary Chinese artists. But she says that she was a sudden convert to the importance of Chinese art and cultural heritage.
“I was invited to Beijing by a Chinese authority called All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese when I was 18, and I was fascinated by the history, culture, art, architecture and natural beauty. I am very proud of our art and cultural heritage. Through art, we can show the world our history and thinking, and how we have evolved.”
Formerly in a full-time business development role at Unicef Hong Kong, since the beginning of this year Lau has combined continued voluntary work for the charity with a job in the department of business innovation and mainland China operations at jewellery giant Chow Tai Fook. During her time there she has already worked on the company’s new retro-luxury Forbidden City collection, which draws its inspiration from classic motifs and techniques culled from Chinese history, and which she says dovetails neatly with her passion for the nation’s culture.
“The Forbidden City is a magical space,” she says. “It’s where we can find our roots. To have a jewellery collection with Chow Tai Fook is not just a marketing gimmick; we tell the story of protecting Chinese heritage and art.”
Although her art collection is driven primarily by passion, Lau says she’s also aware of the importance of choosing pieces that will deliver a financial return – and of choosing a trusted professional art consultancy such as Art Futures Group to help her do so.
“For me, art is not always about priceless or extravagant collections,” she says. “More importantly, it’s about connecting with people. But, in reality, we have to face the fact of return on investment. Art Futures Group is an ideal partner in helping me to make the right investment decisions.”
The first piece she collected, she adds, was a painting by contemporary artist Ting Shao Kuang after she fell in love with a work of his on display at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, and her passion for contemporary art means she was an enthusiastic attendee at a recent exhibition of artist Pan Dehai organised by Art Futures Group. The show, at Elements mall, featured 12 works from Pan’s latest series, Childhood, a vivid recollection of China in the 1960s and ’70s.