My ART | Collector: Grace Lai

Collector: Grace Lai

Collector: Grace Lai

What do you do?

I am an art historian, curator and writer. Currently, I’m the Curator of Applied Arts and Design at Auckland Museum, where I lead exhibition and research development for our leading research archive of craft and design.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

A View With A Room. It is a paper-based installation by Singapore group Vertical Submarine that won the 2009 Singapore President’s Young Talents Award. It impacted on me in many ways, igniting a curiosity to trace the art history of my roots, and beginning a lifelong passion for immersive art. The latter has driven my curatorial practice. I’m interested in transformative exhibition experiences that explore the power of material culture as it influences and marks out spaces and boundaries.

Tell us about a recent discovery?

Rag rugs. I am obsessed, ever since I laid my eyes on Vita Cochran’s rugs in her show After Paintings at Anna Miles Gallery. I love forgotten stories, especially of objects we often overlook in our daily lives, and rugs, or floor coverings are so interconnected to the drum of everyday life, yet they also intersect across the fields of art, craft, industry and economy. They are incredible works of love, labour and vision.

Why collect?

Simply, because you love it. Because the artwork or object speaks to you, connects to you, brings you back to a moment lost in your memories. And importantly, because it is a celebration of art – a wonderful way to show support for artists, makers, designers, especially those who are underrepresented.


May 2021