Sara Raza has been writing on contemporary art and ideas since 2002, and has served as the long-standing West and Central Asia desk editor for ArtAsiaPacific magazine since 2004. She has contributed long form essays for books, artist monographs, and written features and profiles for international art journals, and her exhibitions are always accompanied by scholarly bi-lingual art historical publications. Her writing has been translated in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.
Released on 25 October 2022 Punk Orientalism: The Art of Rebellion explores the spaces and places associated with the former Soviet Union, focusing on artists and ideas hailing from Central Asia and its borders which were long perceived as an extension or ‘client’ states of the USSR. The theme of non-conformity—the “punk” rejection of state authority is a continuous thread throughout the book, highlighting changing and divided societies and their evolving norms in the post-Soviet period. Inspired by the titular concepts: “punk” and “orientalism”, the text functions as a form of bricolage, uniting punk movements and strategies, which can be traced in popular visual culture from the 1970s onwards. The idea of punk is coupled with a critical study of orientalism and its historical association with imperialist assumptions of knowledge. Punk Orientalism expands its association with the territory of the Near East, to look at the USSR’s complex relationship with the Arab world, Iran and Turkey during and after the Cold War period. Order https://www.blackdogonline.com/product/punk-orientalism/
2022: Humbolt Books/ 59th Venice Biennale Uzbekistan National Pavilion/ ‘Dixit Algorizmi: The Garden of Wisdom’ (contributing author). Hatje Cantz Verlag/ Hawai’i Contemporary ‘Pacific Century – E Ho’omau no Moananuiākea Hawai’i Triennial 2022’ (contributing author). 59th Venice Biennale Saudi National Pavilion ‘Muhannad Shono: The Teaching Tree’ (contributing author).
2021: Lakum ‘Ahmed Mater: Prognosis’ (catalogue author), ArtAsiaPacific‘For Freedoms/ AAPI,’ (review), Steven Holl Architects ‘Cosmologies’ (commissioned essay), Silverlens Philippines ‘James Clar: Capitalist Time Vs Cosmological Time,’ (commissioner essay).
2019/2020: Mathaf Modern Arab Museum, “Fateh Al Moudarres: Colour Extensity & Sense (catalogue author), Rubin Museum of Art, Spiral Magazine “Clapping with Stones: Art & Acts of Resistance,” (commissioned essay), ArtAsiaPacific Institute of Islamic & Arab Art (profile), Rossi & Rossi/ British Library “Erbossyn Meldibekov: Seasons,” (author catalogue).
2017/18: Istanbul Modern Museum, “Inci Eviner: Retrospective Who’s Inside of Me?” (monograph essay author), Kunstmuseum Bonn, “Nadia Kaabi-Linke: Versiegelte Zeit (Sealed Time),” (monograph long form interview). Denver Art Museum, “Jeffery Gibson: Retrospective,” (monograph essay author), ArtAsiaPacifc Bard Hessel Museum, “No to the Invasion” (review), Public Movement 10th Anniversary ‘For the Mutual Love of Conceptual Contraband,’ (commissioned essay).
2016: Guggenheim Museum UBS MAP, “But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise” (author book), Tufts University: Shahzia Sikander (monograph essay author). Institut du Monde Arabe Magazine Qantara 100th special issue (commissioned essay), Harper’s Bazaar Art Osman Yousefzadeh (profile) (Sept) Asad Faulwell (monograph author/ contributor) (Jun). NYUAD Art Gallery/ Skira: Diana Al-Hadid (monograph author). Guggenheim UBS MAP Blog: Social Studios (commissioned essay),
2015: Maac Ville de Bruxelles: Younes Baba Ali (monograph author), Barjeel Art Foundation (commissioned essay author), YARAT: The Union of Fire & Water 56th Venice Biennale (catalogue contributing author), Reza Aramesh (monograph contributing author), Canvas Magazine, Art Dubai special issue, Maraya Art Centre: Hamza 5 Years of Maraya (book editor). Tribe Photography & New Media from the Arab World: Wafaa Bilal The Hierarchy of Being, ArtAsiaPacific Almanac: Central Asia.
2014: ArtAsiaPacific: ‘Reza Aramesh: Whistle of the Souls,’ Dubai (review), Saudi Arabia’s Rising Stars (profile), The Third Line Gallery: Babak Golkar (catalogue author), Harper’s Bazaar Art: Zineb Sedira (profile), Lida Abdul (profile) & Art Dubai Marker Central Asia (feature), Maraya Art Centre: Mohammed Kazem: Raw Data (catalogue author), ArtAsiaPacific Almanac Azerbaijan & Uzbekistan year in art reviews.
2013: Canvas Magazine (cover): Wafaa Bilal: After the Dust Settles (profile), Harper’s Bazaar Art: Ala Ebtekar: Future Perfect, Past Tense (profile), Maraya Art Centre ‘The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric (catalogue author Eng/Arabic), ArtAsiaPacific: Sarah AbuAbdallah & Ahmed Mater, Issue 83 (profiles), Canvas Daily Art Dubai Special: One on One with artist Wafaa Bilal, Contemporary Arts Society: Shezad Dawood A Mystery play (text for commissioned artwork), Queensland Art Gallery Asia Pacific Triennial 7 Artlines: New Geographies and New Routes on 0-Now Traversing West Asia (contributing author), Harper’s Bazaar Art: Erbossyn Meldibekov (profile), Maraya Art Centre Adel Abdin: Blueprint (catalogue author), Maraya Art Centre Wafaa Bilal: The Hierarchy of Being (catalogue author). Sotheby’s Auction House, London, At the Crossroads: Central Asia’s Contemporary Stage (catalogue contributing author).
2012: Rose Issa Projects: Farhad Ahrarnia Epic of the Eye (monograph contributing author) ArtAsiaPacific: Saraab Mathaf Doha (Issue 77), ArtAsiaPacific: Tashkent Dispatch (Issue 77), Maraya Art Centre: Migrasophia (catalogue author English/Arabic), Ibraaz 002: Unthinking Systems: Shezad Dawood in conversation with Sara Raza, Ibraaz 003: Nostalgia for the Future: Ala Ebtekar in conversation with Sara Raza. LawrieShabibi Gallery: Nadia Kaabe Linke The Visible is the New Invisible (catalogue author). Harper’s Bazaar Art Cover, #03 Shezad Dawood (cover story), Harper’s Bazaar Art 04 Wafaa Bilal feature. SoftPower (catalogue author English/Arabic). #Ye Hongxing (catalogue author English/Chinese). #COMETOGETHER Farhad Ahrarnia interview (catalogue contributing author).
2011: ArtAsiaPacific: 2011 Almanac (Caucasus), ArtAsiaPacific: Mathaf Launch (Issue 73 ), ArtAsiaPacific: The Point “Arabist,” (Issue 73), ArtAsiaPacific: Ayman Yossri Daydban : Ayman Yossri Daydban (issue 73 review), ArtAsiaPacific: Contemporary Art from Sri Lanka (Asia House) (issue 72 review), ArtAsiaPacific: Tamara Kvesitadze: When Everything Is In Flux (issue 73 profile) Ibraaz: Building Iran: Modernism, Architecture, and National Heritage (book review) Platform 01, Ibraaz: Performing Histories: Wafaa Bilal (in-conversation) platform 01, Ibraaz: New Vocabularies for New Challenges: Newsha Tavakolian in conversation with Sara Raza, Art Hong Kong/ Rossi & Rossi: Lost Paradise Nostalgia: Erbossyn Meldibekov (curatorial essay), Rossi & Rossi/ British Library: Re-constructing Otherness: Shapeshifters and Aliens (catalogue), Rampa Gallery Istanbul: Ergin Cavusoglu Alterity (catalogue).
2010: ArtAsiaPacific: 2010 Almanac (Caucasus), ArtAsiaPacific: Umida Akhmedova (news) (#67), ArtAsiaPacific: Leyla Akundzadeh (obituary) (#68), ArtAsiaPacific: Bharti Kher (review) (#69)
2009: ArtAsiaPacific: 2009 Almanac, ArtAsiaPacific: The UAE: A Region Transformed (#62), ArtAsiaPacific: Bosporus Heads for the Block: Turkish Contemporary Round Table (#62) Artkrush: Unveiled: Saatchi Gallery, Artkrush: Sharjah Biennial, Casa Asia: Modern and Contemporary Afghan Art Essay, Sotheby’s Turkish Contemporary Catalogue: Interview with Hale Tenger, Rossi & Rossi/ British Library: The (Dis)Order of Things: Erbossyn Meldibekov (catalogue), ArtAsiaPacific: Fereydoun Ave Profile (#65), ArtAsiaPacific: Sara Rahbar Review (#65)
2008: Plug In ICA/ Black Dog: Informal Architectures, Lida Abdul An Informal Architect, ArtAsiaPacific: Almanac 2008, ArtAsiaPacific: MUSEUMstan: Central Asia’s Cultural Revolution (#57), ArtAsiaPacific: Steve McQueen at Imperial War Museum (#59), ArtAsiaPacific: Cult of Personality: Central Asia at ShContemporary (#59), ArtAsiaPacific: Lina Saneh at Modern Art Oxford Review, (#60), ArtAsiaPacific: Babi Badalov (#60), ArtAsiaPacific: Serpentine Gallery Indian Highway Preview (#61), ArtAsiaPacific: Middle Eastern book picks (#61), Artkrush: Catherine Yass at Alison Jacques Review (#77), Artkrush: One to Watch: Goshka Macuga Profile (#87 Installation Art), ShContemporary 08 Catalogue: Central & Western Asia essays (English/Chinese).
2007: ArtAsiaPacific: Roxane Zand: Sotheby’s New Category Old Hand Profile (#56), ArtAsiaPacific: Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi at Cannes Film Review (#56), ArtAsiaPacific: Central Asia at 52nd Venice Biennale Preview (#53), Artkrush: Dan Graham interview on Art & Architecture (#67), Artkrush: Art & Politics interview with editor of Bidoun Lisa Farjam (#52), Fonds Regional D’Art Contemporain De Lorraine: Lida Abdul: On the Subject of Endurance (catalogue French/English), A-N (online): Grace Ndirutu Artist Profile, CTRL+P: Travelling Light (reprinted from N:Paradoxa Documenta 12 Edition), Trauma Interrupted Journal on Contemporary Art: Travelling Light (reprinted from N:Paradoxa Documenta 12).
2006: ArtAsiaPacific: Out of Beirut at Oxford MOMA (#51), ArtAsiaPacific: Anish Kapoor My Red Homeland at Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga (#50), ArtAsiaPacific: Reza Aramesh Changing of the Guard at ICA (#49), ArtAsiaPacific: Runa Islam Room Service at Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga (#49), Artkrush: Lida Abdul at São Paulo Biennial (#44), Contemporary: Vanessa Beecroft at Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga (#82), N.Paradoxa/ Documenta 12 Magazine special edition: Traveling Light (#17), Edition5: Staging a Walkout (German/English), Performance, Process & Strategy ed Adelaide Bannerman: Adrian Piper & the Infiltration of Public Space.
2005: 51st Venice Biennale: Lida Abdul (catalogue) ArtAsiaPacific: Museum of Media Art Kabul (MOMAK) (#46) ArtAsiaPacific: West & Center 51st Venice Biennale (#45), ArtAsiaPacific: Mitra Memarzia: Dear Axis of Evil (#45), ArtAsiaPacific: Mitra Tabrizian: Beyond the Limits (#44), ArtAsiaPacific: Shezad Dawood: I Know What You Want Let Me Give It To You Double, ArteEast: Calling into the Void: at San Jose State, Helsinki Photography Festival: To be Continued: Nooshin Farhid, Central Asian Biennale: In The Shadow of “Fallen” Heroes, the 2nd International Bishkek Contemporary Art (Russian/English), Haus der Kulturen der Welt: Spaces and Shadows – Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, Sweeney Gallery, University of California Riverside: A Question of Defense (catalogue) Defense: Body and Nobody in Self-Protection curated by Lauren Hartman, KISSS: The Kinship International Strategy on Surveillance & Suppression, Art In-security & Security-In Art.
2004-02: ArtAsiaPacific: Lida Abdul: By Invitation Only (#43), ArtAsiaPacific: Near Far Distant Iranian Positions at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (#43), ArtAsiaPacific: Reza Aramesh Mimicry & Men (#41), Bidoun: We Have Met the Enemy & He is Us, ArteEast: Nooshin Farhid The Impossibility of Communication, Tavoos Iran: Reza Aramesh at Lawrence O’Hana Gallery (Persian/English) ArtReview: Kirsten Glass: Pusher, ArtReview: Fig 1 Jay Joplin.