Hong Kong; Budapest
Many collectors get their start by wanting to fill the walls of their home. This was the case for Queenie Rosita Law, whose early purchases, beginning in 2017, focused primarily on Asian artists sourced from local galleries and fairs. The first work she ever bought—and still owns—was a photograph
by Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui titled Very Old Tree – Sea Beam, Stamford Road (2013–14).
“Robert’s work focuses on the relationship between us and nature,” Law said. “His photographs are based on personal stories and then contextualized in the realm of history. For this series, he highlights specific trees in Singapore—a city I am very familiar with—and people’s memories of trees within the community.”
After she got her start, Law began thinking about how she could “build a meaningful collection during my lifetime.” A trip to Budapest proved fateful, as she “fell in love with the raw expression and powerful energy of the region’s artists. From that moment on, I decided to focus my collection on Central and Eastern European contemporary art.”
Law said she has been obsessed with art since she was young, buoyed by the support of her father, who also encouraged her to apply to art school. (She studied at Central Saint Martins in London.) “He would bring me to museums, especially when we traveled for holidays,” she said of her father. “He also encouraged me to take art classes because he saw that I was always drawing in my spare time.”
Since deciding to focus her collection on Central and Eastern European art, Law has acquired pieces by artists like Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ilona Keserü, Dóra Maurer, Simon Hantaï, Olga Jevrić, Paul Neagu, and Stanislav Kolíbal, who represented the Czech Republic at the 2019 Venice Biennale “but still remains largely unknown internationally,” Law said.
That’s also the case with Hungarian artist Márton Nemes, whose work she began collecting in 2019, after his degree show in London. “I always knew that my life would be dedicated to art, and I realized that what I enjoy most is helping talented yet underrepresented artists like Márton grow their career,” Law said, noting that Nemes will represent his home country at next year’s Venice Biennale.
One of Law’s latest acquisitions is a work on paper, The Bird (1986), by Croatian artist Vlado Martek, an important figure in his country’s 1970s and ’80s avant-garde movement. The purchase followed a visit with Martek. “One of my favorite things to do is studio visits because they provide an opportunity to talk to artists in an intimate setting,” she said. “I’ve visited countless artist studios over the years and will continue to do so for as long as I can.”
Around 2018, Law started thinking about establishing a nonprofit in Budapest, which led to the opening of Q Contemporary in 2021. Offering free admission, the space’s mission, she said, “is to contribute to the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art in Budapest, especially among younger generations.” She noted that the legacy of her grandfather, Law Ting Pong, a philanthropist in education, inspired her. “In Budapest, I saw that I could make a bigger impact compared to in my hometown of Hong Kong.”
A version of this article appears in the 2023 ARTnews Top 200 Collectors issue.