The high-energy, low-profile collector Basma Al Sulaiman resists easy classification. Divorced and living in London since 2000, she has built a collection that is remarkable for the breadth of its holdings in Chinese, Indian, and South Asian contemporary art.
She has also become a patron of art in and from her native Saudi Arabia. And although Al Sulaiman might have joined the museum building boom in the Middle East or created a private institution in London, she has opted for a more egalitarian platform.
The Basma Al Sulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art — or BASMOCA — is the first virtual museum to present an actual private collection to a limitless global audience of wired visitors.
Launched in April 2011 with a ceremony in the port city of Jeddah, where Al Sulaiman was raised and keeps a second home, BASMOCA allows visitors to assume avatars and interface with friends or fellow visitors as they make their way through a sleek virtual museum that, at least in cyberspace, occupies a palm tree fringed island oasis surrounded by a tranquil blue sea.