How all this started
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.
“I so enjoy coming to Cairns to visit your shop. It’s beautifully presented, and your staff are so welcoming and patient as I debate over the many options – whether it be a piece of jewellery or more art for the walls. Your shop reflects your passion and soul, and you deserve every success. I can’t wait to come up to Cairns to see all the new treasures you’ve been working on.
– Bev and Dave, Sydney
Artists Who Matter
When you buy a piece of art, jewellery or any object from UnderArt, you’re buying years of dedication and passion.
Every piece has been crafted and displayed with love, by an artist who matters.
And that makes you – our loyal customers – matter too. You provide the validation and recognition that all artists crave. And you have provided me with the motivation to evolve UnderArt Gallery into one of North Queensland’s most loved art spaces and gift shops.
For that, I thank you