Ann Mui Ling has been in the finance industry for more than 20 years. The sales manager with a Singapore-based foreign bank is constantly on the move as she jets all over the world for work and to visit art fairs. Art has always been a passion but she started collecting seriously only in 2005 — because she wanted to decorate her walls. Out of her busy work schedule, Ann Mui Ling squeezes in time to volunteer at the Singapore Art Museum (more than 10 years now) as well as at previous editions of the Singapore Biennale. She is also a docent at the National Gallery Singapore.
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What is the theme of your collection?
There’s no particular theme but I find myself gravitating towards works on paper.
What advice would you give to someone who’s starting to collect art?
Buy a piece you like and that you can live with. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Do you see art as an investment? What are the returns like?
I don’t see art as investment. There are better financial instruments for investments.
How has your art appreciation developed throughout the years?
I spent years “seeing” and experiencing art, so I’ve learnt to appreciate contemporary art a lot better, including new media such as video and audio art. But so far I haven’t sold anything in my collection. I am a hoarder (laughs)!
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What do you think younger collectors can do for the Singapore art scene? What do you think is lacking?
I feel the art is more important than the collector. I prefer to see more opportunities for local artists to show their works (not only in museums) to the public.
Are there art collectors or artists you admire?
I am inspired by Herb and Dorothy Vogel. They are an average working-class couple who collected art just because they love it and have amassed a very impressive collection.
Do you think young people should be interested in art?
Yes. I think art is about experiences and contemporary art is especially reflective of the times that we live in. I became more sensitive to history, culture and social issues across the world through art.
Advice for someone starting out?
If you like an artwork but hesitate to buy, research on the artist and start to follow his works. One day, you will discover a piece that “speaks” to you.
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