Hi, I’m iefje Boissevain. I’ve been a jewellery designer and manufacturer, a restaurateur, and a retailer. But first and foremost, I’m an artist. I know what it feels like to live and breathe my craft. I fantasised about seeing my art on a wall – even selling it – as I struggled to get a break in an industry of closed doors.
So, there was only one solution. I had to get my own door.
As fate would have it, back in 2009, a friend offered me the temporary use of an empty shop in the heart of Cairns. He handed me my door (and I thank him for that to this day).
This was my opportunity to see if I had what it takes to sell my work to total strangers. I turned the entire space into my own funky art gallery and threw open the doors.
The evolution into something bigger
As I started to sell my pieces, other artists came by and asked if I would hang their work too. Time and time again I heard stories of the same rejection I had faced from other galleries.
I didn’t want to judge these artists on their CVs and awards like I had been. I was more interested in their raw talent, hard work and passion.
So began over a decade of friendships, trust and mutual respect that turned my temporary little gallery in Cairns into an eclectic haven for exciting emerging and established artists.
Today, UnderArt Gallery attracts artists from across Australia and buyers from around the world.
What started as a curious pursuit is now a key tourist and local art lovers’ destination in the heart of Cairns.