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A Female Icon & Entrepreneur Pearl Lam Changed the Art World

For many uninitiated, the lady behindthe famous Pearl Lam Galleries is unknown. Since her first eponymous Pearl Lam Galleries, Pearl Lam has been steadfastly working towards changing the art landscape and challenging the existing norms of the traditional galleries and the displayed works.This has been possible with her entrepreneurial skills and diversification of work as a gallerist. 

As an international gallerist, Pearl Lam has been not only a patron and collector of prominent art but forayed into the less travelled path as an art gallerist. Lam has been commissioning and representing artists who are often overlooked. The result is Lam has become a female icon and entrepreneur. She has been working hard and using her influence to bring artists and artwork that are rarely talked about to the forefront, like the indigenous art of Africa, the influence of contemporary Chinese female artists, and virtual art, NFT, to name a few. The launch of her Chinese Art Foundation and Pearl Lam’s Podcast shows how, as a gallerist, she has turned around the art world and become a prominent female entrepreneur. 

Where Did It All Start As an Entrepreneur for Pearl Lam?

Born in Hong Kong to a real estate development tycoon, and according to Pearl Lam, her father decided her destiny, i.e., to become a part of the family business. But Pearl Lam was destined to become an art world wonder. So, despite studying accountancy and financial management at the University of Buckingham and then a conversion course in law from accountancy at City University of the UK, she became a gallerist. Lam’s father then sent her to Shanghai in 1992 for a project development. Little did she know then that Shanghai would change her life forever and become She became a famous female icon and entrepreneur. 

But before opening her first Pear Lam Galleries in 2005, Shanghai, it was evident that Pearl Lam was fated to do something in art because she bought two paintings from Ho Gallery with her first month’s salary while handling the project in Shanghai. While being an art enthusiast, she also showed all the necessary traits to become a prominent female entrepreneur. Those paintings were of Shanghainese artist Sun Liang, who became Pearl Lam’s friend. It included taking risks, the eagerness to learn, and being innovative.

Learning Is a Must For Any Entreprenuer

Liang would take Lam to different art studios and galleries in Shanghai and introduce her to the city’s art scene. However, Lam’s Mandarin was still bad, and she could barely understand what the people in the field were saying, so initially, she started taking her secretary with her, but Pearl Lam, being the perfectionist she is, didn’t enjoy the experience. Soon, she began employing postgraduate students who were studying art or had an art background. The purpose was for these students to understand the artwork and the talking points of the artists and the curators better and comprehensively translate that to Lam in English. 

During this time, Pearl Lam learned about the influence of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in Chinese culture. Lam was curious about all these and always had someone taking notes on what was being said and researching it. She also witnessed how contemporary abstract art was inspired by Chinese culture, far from the Moist caricature and jingoism that the West always associated with Chinese art. 

The lure of the art world couldn’t be shaken off either by her father or her family. Hence, Lam knew she had to do something with art. The result started with pop-up art shows, a true trait of starting as an entrepreneur and learning the business ropes of the industry. Next, in 2003, she set up an office for art shows only in Shanghai with a team and then became the powerhouse of China’s art world. 

Dedication, Disruption, And Perseverance Of A Successful Entrepreneur

Despite listening to her father and undertaking the studies he demanded, Lam always wanted to do something where his father didn’t have a say and something that she was passionate about.The result was becoming a curator after she got invigorated with the art culture of Shanghai. After the pop-up shows in 2005, Pearl Lam Galleries opened in Shanghai, and in 2014, a branch of the gallery opened in Singapore. The second Pearl Lam Galleries opened in Hong Kong in 2015. 

All along, Pearl Lam has been disrupting and making a statement of her own with the works she displays, the artists she represents, and the curation she does. Over the years, Pearl Lam has received quite a few accolades; the Financial Times called her the ‘Powerhouse of China’s art world’. Lam has been touted as a person who has single-handedly changed the perception of Chinese art for the West, Asia, and Chinese people. 

Naming her as art world wonder is not uncalled for because she has been a force to reckon with in the world of art and is revered as a curator. As an international gallerist, Pearl Lam does not take her job lightly. 2008, Lam founded the China Art Foundation, a space showcasing Chinese history and culture globally. 

The Journey Of A Prominent Female Entrepreneur Continues 

If anyone thought achieving all these and after being touted as an ‘art world wonder’, Tatler’s recognition as one of the most influential people of Asia in 2021 or authority of Asian contemporary art and design would stop her, everyone is wrong. Pearl Lam continues to break the boundaries and is determined to make the art market more inclusive. As a powerful and expert speaker and a female icon and entrepreneur, Lam has started Pearl Lam’s podcast, where she hosts guests from different backgrounds, but one string that runs common through every episode is their love of art and entrepreneurial skills. 

Pearl Lam, the art world wonder’s focus is to help others understand how to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills.The podcast has become a platform from where want-to-be entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from her and her guests on being steadfast and committed to working hard every day to achieve their dreams. As a woman entrepreneur, Lam is dedicated to promoting art and artists whom the Puritan art world and galleries have forsaken.

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