Sara Raza – Critic & Curator

Alternative Curatorial Platforms

What’s New?

Coming soon……

PO Cover

Punk Orientalism: Central Asia’s Contemporary Art Revolution

Edited by Sara Raza, published by black dog and scheduled for release Summer 2014.

This fascinating publication explores the radical story of contemporary art in Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1991 these republics were granted their independence following almost 75 years of Soviet rule. What ensued was the chaotic emergence of various political, religious and ethnic groups vying for power. At the same time a new generation of contemporary artists were emerging from art schools into this changing and divided society.


Wafaa Bilal Talk with Aida Mahmudova and Sara Raza

Public Art & Time: Wafaa Bilal, Sara Raza & Aida Mahmudova

Save the date 18 March 2014

The Archive, Safa Park Dubai

Organised by Maraya Art Centre/ Maraya Art Park


Casa Arabe, Madrid Spain “New Art Market Scenarios: The Emergent Scene in Saudi Arabia.”

What characterizes the emerging art scene in the Gulf region? What place does Saudi Arabia hold, and more specifically the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, in its development?  Panel discussion organised in February 2014 by Casa Arabe and Sabrina Amrani Gallery in Madrid, during ARCO 2014.

Visual artist Ayman Yossri will be conversing with collector Basma Al Sulaiman, the founder of Basmoca, Saudi Arabia’s first virtual art museum, and with Sara Raza, an art curator and expert on art from Central Asia and the Middle East, with a great deal of experience in the Gulf region.


AAP Sign

ArtAsiaPacific Almanac2014 out now!

A Year in

Review: Uzbekistan  by Sara Raza

Despite a rich artistic history, Uzbekistan struggles to escape the legacy of its Soviet past, in political, economic and cultural spheres. The art scene suffered a major blow on November 21 when Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the country’s president, Islam Karimov, and chairperson of the main funding body for the arts, the Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan Foundation (Fund Forum), announced that its activities would be halted temporarily – Sara Raza (to read full article please see the current issue of ArtAsiaPacific’s 2014 Almanac:



Maraya Art Centre
Mohammed Kazem RAW DATA (1999-2013)

Curated by Sara Raza

Raw Data (1999-2013) is a site specific commissioned project by Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem for Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah. Kazem is renowned for producing conceptual works that map objects, architecture, nature and geographies by receiving their GPS coordinates and creating a new syntax in contemporary art. For Maraya Kazem will present 14 year’s worth of numerical coordinates from  GPS readings he has collected throughout his professional career. These readings are reworked and applied within an atmospheric installation providing audiences with space for illumination and reflectivity. – Curator Sara Raza


Mystery Play

Tate Britain
Assembly: A Survey of Recent Artists’ Film and Video in Britain 2008–2013

Shezad Dawood’s film A Mystery Play will be shown within a programme at Tate Britain titled Prelude: I Extend My Arms which is also part of THE OPEN HOUSE PARTY to celebrate the re-opening of Tate Britain Saturday 23 November – early evening. Originally curated by Anthony Kiendl & Sara Raza for Plug In ICA, Winnipeg Canada in 2010.

*Image courtesy of Shezad Dawood, A Mystery Play (Production Still), 2010, from Super 16mm transferred to HD, 14:02.


Ala Ebtekar_HBA_SEPT_13

Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia
Future Perfect Past Tense
The Art of Ala Ebtekar
By Sara Raza
*Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia

“In his multi-faceted, multi-media art practice, Ala Ebtekar combines popular cultural tropes such as urban music and fashion, comic books, street art and sci-fi literature, alongside ancient Persian and Turkic mythology, natural sciences and literature.” – Sara Raza – to read full article please see Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia’s Sept/Oct 2013 issue out now.


Wafaa Bilal Canvas Cover

Canvas Magazine
A disaster touches everything
The Art of Wafaa Bilal
By Sara Raza (cover story)
*Courtesy of Canvas Magazine

Has the proverbial dust settled in the aftermath of the Iraq war? The question remains open-ended as one muses over Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal’s Ashes (2003–13) photographic series that documents the residues of war. With 2013 marking 10 years since the American invasion of Iraq… Bilal’s practice has also evolved.” Sara Raza (to read full story please visit:

See more of Wafaa Bilal’s phenomenal practice at

The National

The National (cover story)

The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric re-imagines maths through contemporary art

By Anna Seaman – 22 July 2013

From the nature of its title – The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric – and the fact it opened in Sharjah one week into Ramadan, you might assume this exhibition would be formulated from traditional Islamic art, but nothing about Sara Raza’s curatorial approach is predictable. She has taken what could easily be construed as a very large bite into the profound subject of the thinking sciences and offered us a healthy portion of contemporary art that inquires into the creative use of geometry.

*Image Sara Raza against the back drop of Ala Ebtekar’s Untitled (2013) site specific wall drawing, copyright of the artist and Maraya Art Centre & The National


Maraya Art Centre

The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric
Curated by Sara Raza


The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric references the activity of (re)thinking the science of geometry as a visual, cultural, textual and performative aesthetics.   The exhibition will include: Sarah Al Abdali, Sarah Abu Abdallah, Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Farhad Ahrarnia, Zeigam Azizov, Fayçal Baghriche, Ala Ebtekar, Basmah Felemban, Fatima Al Qadiri & Alex Gvojic, Mobius Design Studio & Faysal Tabbarah, Hayv Kahraman, Nasir Nasrallah and Jamal Tayara-Baroudy.*Image courtesy Faycal Baghriche Elective Purification (2009) wall painting, variable media  and Souvenir (2009) illuminated terrestrial globe and motor. Exhibition view La force de l’art. Le Grand Palais, Paris 2009.


la Biennale di Venezia

55th Venice Biennial
Commissioned by Edge of Arabia



Rhizoma draws its inspiration from an emerging younger generation of Saudi artists, whose works embrace multiplicity alongside new artistic vocabularies in technology, science and natural philosophy. The exhibition’s premise draws from the actual rhizoma, the ancient Greek word for the underground root of a plant as a metaphor for a bold new generation of artists who are challenging the force of gravity through inspiring projects (Sara Raza, lead curator).

The exhibition will show the works of the following artists—Abdulkarim Qassem, Abdullah Alothman, Ahaad Alamoudi, Ahmad Angawi, Basmah Felemban, Batool Alshomrani, Dana Awrtani, Eiman Elgibreen, Eyad Maghazil, Heba Abed, Huda Beydoun, Majid Althobaity, Mala’a Al-Amoudi, Mohammad Makki, Nasser Salem, Nora A. Almazrooa, Nouf Alhimiary, Omamah AlSadiq, Ramy Alqthamy, Saeed Salem, Sami Al-Turki, Sarah AbuAbdallah, Sarah Al Abdali, Shaweesh – and special projects by cross-platform YouTube sensations TelFaz 11 and UTurn, who will be collaborating with artists to create new realities that reach peer-group audiences in their millions.


Maraya Art Park
Wafaa Bilal: The Hierarchy of Being
Curated by Sara Raza

 Wafaa Bilal: The Hierarchy of Being atMaraya Art Park

Maraya Art Centre is proud to inaugurate the Maraya Art Park in Sharjah, UAE, with an outstanding interactive sculpture entitled The Hierarchy of Being by international, New York based Iraqi-American artist and NYU professor Wafaa Bilal curated by Sara Raza. This spectacular new work explores visual culture through the lens of pioneering Islamic sciences and examines how these ideas have impacted current thinking. This new work marks Bilal’s first solo exhibition and public art installation in the UAE.


Maraya Art Centre
Adel Abidin: Blueprint
Curated by Sara Raza

Adel Abidin Blueprint_Maraya Art Centre

The unique exhibition Blueprint by renowned Finnish-Iraqi artist Adel Abidin, curated by Sara Raza, employs informal architecture and sound to create an large scale interactive drawing. Transforming the gallery into a mock factory this powerful new work explores the architectural and engineering practice of producing an actual blueprint, to explore post-Arab Spring identity and aims to visually address the absurdities of manufactured identities for global consumption.

Adel Abidin’s opening will be part of Maraya Art Night in conjunction with Barjeel Foundation in 11 March from 7pm.


100 Curators 100 Days

Sara has been selected as one of the 100 curators 100 days project for Saatchi as featured in the New York Times and The National  to read the full article please see:


Alaan Artspace, Riyadh
Launch of Soft Power October 2012
Courtesy of Alaan Artspace

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