The Basma Al Sulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art, or BASMOCA, is an online museum situated in second life. One has to download second life and make an avatar to view it, and although this might take up to 30 minutes, one then has the pleasure of viewing Basma al Sulaiman’s private collection of art in a spacious museum – levitating, if desired. The works of art on display since the opening of BASMOCA in 2011 range from Western to Saudi and Arab art, with a large number of contemporary Chinese paintings. Each artwork is described in detail in a note one can pick up when standing in front of it. As one can expect the quality of the work suffers from its digital rendering, even though the art has been uploaded in high-res.
Although the exhibition has been a permanent one until now, there are plans to start organizing temporary exhibitions in BASMOCA soon.
Basma is a collector hailing from an influential family from central Saudi Arabia. Although she always collected art, she became interested in contemporary art after seeing Sensation, Saatchi’s seminal exhibition of Young British Artists in 1997 (Tracey Emin is in BASMOCA). Since then she’s been a fervent collector of contemporary art, becoming particularly interested in China before switching her attention back to her own homeland. “I like the energy in painting” she proclaims. She also followed a course in modern and contemporary art at Christie’s in London.
Those visiting Jeddah may try to get in touch with her, to see her private collection in her beautiful penthouse facing the Red Sea. Some of the most famous works by Saudi artists belong to her. Basma is a true patron of the arts, endeavoring to help artists find new opportunities, organize residencies, invite art critics, etc, so she’s a good person to discuss interesting collaboration proposals.