Annual Public Lecture Women Collectors and Collecting Today

Wednesday 3 November 2021 | 5.30 - 7pm

Book online

The Association’s 2021 Annual Public Lecture will take the form of an online panel discussion about collecting strategies from women engaged in forming and advising on a range of collections from several continents. The programme follows on from the Association’s 2020 Annual Public Lecture – which explored and celebrated the extraordinary achievements of several women collectors, curators and exhibition organisers in nineteenth-century Europe—taking the subject into the 21st century and with a broader look at collecting, specifically in the areas of British Modern and Contemporary Art, African American Art, Modern and Contemporary South Asian art and contemporary African Art.

The panel will be chaired by Deborah Smith, Director of the Arts Council Collection UK, and panellists will include Schwanda Rountree, a collector and art consultant based in Washington, D.C.; Manjari Sihare Sutin, Vice President, Specialist and Head of Sale in the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art department at Sotheby’s New York; and Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art, London and Addis Ababa. Each panellist will give a short presentation about their work and there will also be a Q&A session, with the opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions via the Zoom Q&A function. Questions can also be emailed in advance to:

Topics for discussion will include, among others: how collections, both private and public, are formed and shaped; the role and perception of women advisors/collectors within the areas of collecting represented by the speakers; whether women bring particular sensibilities to the collecting process and/or are interested in areas less traditionally collected by men; and how artists can be supported in the collecting process.

This event will take place live and will be recorded and made available afterwards.
Book your free digital tickets now via Eventbrite.

The Panel
Deborah Smith, Director of the Arts Council Collection UK
Deborah is a highly respected curator with an impressive track record in contemporary art. For the past two decades she has worked across interdisciplinary practices to commission art, curate exhibitions, and develop public programmes in partnership and collaboration with a wide range of artists and organisations. Deborah has worked with major international contemporary arts organisations as Head of Programmes (Interim) at the Contemporary Arts Society and Head of Programmes (Interim) at Serpentine Galleries, and as curator for the Arts Council Collection’s National Partners Programme at Birmingham Museums Trust. During this tenure Deborah was responsible for acclaimed exhibitions including I Want! I Want! Art and Technology, ‘Totality’ by Katie Paterson at Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum and Rachel McLean’s Too Cute! Sweet is about to get sinister. Previously, Deborah held a position as Curator for Hayward Gallery Touring where she conceptualised and initiated the Hayward Curatorial Open and co-curated a number of touring exhibitions.

Schwanda Rountree, collector and art consultant based in Washington, D.C.
Schwanda is an attorney, contemporary art collector, and independent art consultant based in Washington, D.C. Since the launch of Rountree Art Consulting, Schwanda has worked with galleries domestically and internationally in placing contemporary art and curating art shows. She currently serves as Chair of the Contemporaries Steering Committee at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and as an Executive Board Member of the Executive Committee for the James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art at Howard University. In 2011, Schwanda served as Advisory Board Member for the 30 Americans exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. She has spoken on several panels on collecting art including, Creative Voices DC: Photography Defining the Global Contemporary at the Philips Collection (2013), and Inner Visions: Full Circle Symposium, held in conjunction with the 30 Americans exhibition at the Corcoran (2012).

Manjari Sihare Sutin, Vice President, Specialist and Head of Sale in the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art department at Sotheby’s New York
Manjari joined the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Department at Sotheby’s in 2015. She brings a breadth and depth of knowledge to her role acquired over twelve years of experience in the field. Manjari has worked extensively with a range of both institutions and private collections in India and the United States. Leading public institutions she has served in New Delhi include the Lalit Kala Akademi, Goethe Institut and The Biennale Society as well as Gallery Espace and Savara Foundation for the Arts. Upon moving to New York in 2010, Manjari became Studio Manager for leading South Asian contemporary artist, Rina Banerjee. She subsequently worked in the New York offices of leading Indian auction house Saffronart. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Manjari held the position of Curatorial Manager at the Queens Museum, New York where she helped plan, implement and present over twenty international art exhibitions.

Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art, London and Addis Ababa
In 2016 Rakeb Sile and Mesai Haileleul co-founded Addis Fine Art, creating the first white-cube gallery space for modern and contemporary art in Ethiopia. Described as one of the ‘Most Important Young Galleries in the World’ (Artsy 2019), Addis Fine Art has become of the leading galleries in Africa, establishing a prominent international platform for artists from the Horn of Africa. The gallery has spaces in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and London and has participated in fairs in Africa and beyond, among them Frieze New York and London, Art Basel, Art Dubai and the Armory Show. Rakeb, with a background in management consulting, was also recently chosen as one of Apollo Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Africa in 2020, a project dedicated to 40 of the most influential and talented people in the art world born or based in Africa.