Jan 18 2019

Ishara Art Foundation To Launch In Alserkal Avenue

by Julee WJ Chung

Ishara Art Foundation, which is dedicated to South Asian contemporary art, will open its new space in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue on March 18. Image via Alserkal Avenue’s Facebook page.

Ishara Art Foundation will open its new art space in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue on March 18. Established by collector, art patron and entrepreneur Smita Prabhakar, the Foundation will be the first non-profit institution in the United Arab Emirates dedicated to art and artists from South Asia. 

Comprising two storys, Ishara aims to present a dynamic program centered on Prabhakar’s collection, but will also include loans, new commissions and touring exhibitions. The foundation’s inaugural show, “Altered Inheritances: Home Is a Foreign Place,” will showcase the works of Shilpa Gupta and Zarina Hashmi, two key contemporary female artists whose practices examine notions of location and belonging. Besides bringing the works of established artists to the public, the space will also host exhibitions of emerging artists from South Asia. 

Founder and chairperson Prabhakar stated in the press release for Ishara’s launch: “My desire for brilliant work by South Asian artists to be more widely recognized is at the heart of this project. I hope the UAE’s cosmopolitan audiences will appreciate and absorb these artists and their works through our permanent space and dedicated program, allowing cultural voices to enrich our understanding of each other.” Ishara’s artistic director Nada Raza, a curator and specialist in South Asian art, added: ‘‘I curated my first exhibition in Dubai in 2005 and have closely followed the steady development of the arts scene in the UAE. I am excited to be back, and to shape the artistic direction of a permanent space with more sustained access to the contemporary art and artists of South Asia. Ishara will be a new locus within the thriving arts and culture sector in the UAE, establishing our place within a wider community.”

Julee WJ Chung is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.

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