London-based art curator Amin Jaffer on 12 things he can't live without Advertisement

London-based art curator Amin Jaffer on 12 things he can’t live without

From food to fashion

By Neville Bhandara  June 12th, 2018

As an art historian and writer, Dr Amin Jaffer is a man constantly on the move. He’s currently the Curator of the exquisite Al Thani Collection, an encyclopedic holding of more than 6,000 works of art. Rwandan-born 49-year-old Jaffer — who lives in London and was formerly Senior Curator at the Victoria And Albert Museum and International Director of Asian Art for Christie’s — had his first brush with art when he was six, when his mother took him to the Louvre and Versailles. There, Jaffer, armed with a Polaroid camera began clicking away. As he grew, so did his appreciation for art. As a student at the University Of Toronto, a course in ceramics led him to realise public art was his true passion, leading to a Masters, and then, a PhD at the Royal College Of Art, London. With a schedule as demanding as his and projects all over the world, he shuttles constantly between global art capitals such as London, Beijing and Venice. Jaffer takes comfort in routine, preferring to rise early. We managed to pin him down just long enough to let us into his world.

Here, Amin gives us 12 things he can’t live without.

1. Love (de l'amour) by Stendhal

“My favourite book; it is an attempt to understand this deepest of human emotions.”

2. A blue blazer

“Indispensable, in all shades of blue and all textures, from cashmere to cotton. It looks good in every setting and on every occasion.” 

3. Biryani

“Compulsory for Sunday lunch when growing up. My current obsession is the jackfruit version at Dishoom in London.” 

4. 'Morgen!'

“I listen to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s wonderful rendition of this Richard Strauss composition at least once a day.” 

5. Rimowa salsa carry-on

“After years of carting suitcases, I have finally mastered travelling light, thanks to this case.” 

6. The terrace at the Gritti palace

“A cherished spot in the city (Venice) I love most — a place where great things have happened in my life.” 

Photograph: Courtesy of The Gritti Palace

7. Patek philippe 5131J-001

“With its multi time-zone function, it helps me stay on top of my life — and my far-flung projects.” 

9. Caspar david friedrich

“It’s hard for an art historian to name just one painter, but Friedrich’s work touches me at the deepest level.”

8. Eau D'italie


“My go-to scent, made by my friends Antonio Sersale and Carla Sersale. It reminds me of my summers on the Amalfi Coast.”

10. The victoria and albert museum

“My all-time favourite museum. I worked there for 13 years and return whenever I can.”

11. Hope town, Bahamas

“The ultimate escape; an island with little to do except read, swim and go for long walks"

12. Matcha tea

“I am addicted to Japanese tea — and the cup is just as important. This red-glazed one from Beijing travels with me.”