Sara Raza – Critic & Curator

Alternative Curatorial Platforms

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‘Art and Reality: A Symposium on Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in Context,’ Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Saturday, April 18 2015

Sara Raza is proud to participate in the daylong symposium that considers Parviz Tanavoli’s art and the “new” field of contemporary Middle Eastern art, questions of creative freedom and the social responsibility of artists, and matters of “soft power” in the region. Sara is the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for the Middle East and North Africa; YARAT Head of Education; an editor at Art Asia Pacific Magazine; and a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art and she will participate in the panel discussion ‘Emergent 1: Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in the Academy and the Museums’ alongside Ladan Akbarnia is a specialist in the art of Iran and Central Asia and is Assistant Keeper of the Islamic Collections at the British Museum; Omar Kholeif is a curator at Whitechapel Gallery in London and Senior Editor at Ibraaz, Vassilis Oikonomopoulos is Assistant Curator of International Art Collections at Tate Modern. He is a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art and Nada Shabout is Professor and Director of Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute at the University of North Texas.

For further information please visit:


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Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative Expands with Announcement of Sara Raza as Curator for the Middle East and North Africa

(NEW YORK, NY—January 20, 2015)—Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, announced that London-based curator, critic, and editor Sara Raza has been selected for the third curatorial residency of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. In her role as the future Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa, Ms. Raza will join June Yap (South and Southeast Asia), Pablo León de la Barra (Latin America) and Guggenheim staff in realizing this multiyear program, which supports contemporary art, artists, education, and professional exchange in three of the world’s most diverse and dynamic regions. For further information please read:

(photo by David Heald for the Guggenheim)

—— AAP ArtAsiaPacific Almanac 2015 Out Now! A year in review in contemporary art from Asia all the way from Turkey to Japan. Sara has contributed to Central Asia and the South Caucasus for the Almanac. Read a sample here on the art activities from the bedrock of Central Asian contemporary art Kazakhstan in 2014: ——-

Third Text

THIRD TEXT Sara Raza will be guest editing a special issue of critical art journal Third Text devoted to contemporary art from Central Asia. Focusing on contemporary visual culture from the 5 Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as well as Afghanistan.


——- Vienna


Sara Raza is proud to participate in Generation Baku: New Art from Azerbaijan (5 Oct 2014) with Orkhan Huseynov Artist, Baku/Azerbaijan, Aida Mahmudova Founder and Director of YARAT, Baku/Azerbaijan and Sandra Nedvetskaia Director of COSMOSCOW art fair, Moscow/RU in a session chaired by Suad Garayeva Curatorial Director for Exhibitions and Permanent Collection, YARAT, Baku/AZ. For further information please visit ——- Canvas Curators of the Middle East

Sara Raza has been profiled by Canvas Magazine as one of 5 leading curators from the Middle East in the magazine’s third special on ‘Curators of Middle Eastern Art,’ forthcoming Sept/Oct 2014 issue. Along with Sara other renowned curators profiled include Dr Layla Diba, Suzanne Cotter, Vali Mahlouji and Omar Kholief. (Written by Canvas contributing editor Anna Wallace-Thompson). ——-

YARAT logo

Sara Raza joins Yarat the pioneering arts space in Azerbaijan as the Head of Education and Public Programmes and Chief Curator of the 2015 Public Art Festival, coinciding with the Baku 2015 1st European Games. Sara comes to Yarat with a wealth of experience having devised international educational and curatorial programmes for museums, art centres, biennales and festivals. She has previously served as the Founding Head of Curatorial and Educational Programmes for Alaan Artspace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Curator of Public Programmes at Tate Modern, London and is a noted academic and curatorial specialist on contemporary art from Central Asia and the Caucasus.



The 8 Most Influential Women in Central Asian and Caucasian Art Independent writer, critic and curator Sara Raza is one of the most interesting and impassioned voices in the current discourse on Central Asian contemporary art. As ArtAsiaPacific’s editor for West and Central Asia, she brings the region’s art in from the cold, giving it critical space in a top-flight publication where you’re as likely to read about Ai Weiwei as you are Eurasian art collective Slavs and Tatars. Raza, a former curator of public programmes at Tate Modern, is a contributing editor for Ibraaz and regular visiting lecturer for Sotheby’s MA programme, as well as carrying out her own packed agenda of independent projects, working with artists such as Wafaa Bilal and Edge of Arabia to draw out the pan-continental links between Central Asian and Middle Eastern artists. Along with Sara the list includes Aida Mahmudova, founder of Yarat, Mila Askarova, founder and director of London’s Gazelli Art House, artists Aza Shade, Almagul Menlibayeva, Annya Sand,  Gayane Umerova and Natalya Dyu.



* Gizem Karakas, “Attention! Attention!,” (2014) multi-channel video Akbank Art Prize Exhibition 2014 4 Jun – 25 Jul, Istanbul, Turkey Artists Berat Işık, Ayşegül Karakaş, Gizem Karakaş, Alican Leblebici, İhsan Oturmak, Burcu Yağcıoğlu – Showcasing emerging contemporary art from Turkey and selected from a pool of over 300 submissions. The exhibition explores painting, drawing and moving image and comments on an array of social and contemporary positions currently being explored in Turkish contemporary art. Exhibition curated and designed by Sara Raza, Katia Anguelova and Fatos Ustek.



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