Who We Are

Smita Prabhakar

Founder and Chairperson 

Smita Prabhakar is the founder and Chairperson of the Ishara Art Foundation. She is a successful entrepreneur with a stellar business reputation built over four decades in corporate human resource management in the region. The Ishara Art Foundation is her contribution to the arts and culture in the UAE, a space to share South Asian culture with the local community and diverse international audiences in the MENASA region.

A collector and patron of contemporary art, passionate about its potential to enliven and encourage a deeper understanding of contemporary South Asia, Smita is currently on the Advisory Board of Art Dubai, a member of the South Asian Acquisitions Committee at Tate Modern, London, and is an International Patron of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, supporting the V.S. Gaitonde exhibition in 2015. 

Sabih Ahmed

Associate Director and Curator

Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator of Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. His curatorial work and research focus on modern and contemporary art of South Asia through diverse itineraries, languages and inter-disciplinary formations. Prior to joining Ishara, he was a Senior Researcher and Projects Manager at Asia Art Archive from 2009 to 2019 where he was involved in the establishing of AAA in India (AAA in I) in New Delhi. He has served as a Visiting Faculty at the Ambedkar University Delhi from 2014 to 2019 and is on the Advisory Board of Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation, Delhi. His writings have been published by Art Cabinet, Mousse, The Whitworth and Oncurating.

Ahmed has been involved with a number of independent curatorial projects, he has led research projects focusing on the digitisation of seminal artist archives, digital bibliographies of art across languages, and has organised colloquia and seminars around artistic, archival and educational resources globally.

Laura Metzler

Operations, Production and Programmes Manager

Laura Metzler is the Operations, Production and Programmes Manager of Ishara Art Foundation. She is a curator and art historian from Houston, Texas. She received her MA from the American University of Beirut and her BA from the University of Texas at Austin. Previously she has been the Curator of the Maraya Art Center, Associate Director of The Third Line, Dubai and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut. She is interested in transnational narratives and emerging art historiographies. Her research has focused on the later works of Lebanese sculptor Saloua Raouda Choucair and she has curated exhibitions that include Dana Awartani: The Silence Between Us (2018), Yaminay Chaudhri: Rooms are Never Finished/ Arwa Al Naemi Liff (Co-curated with Aziz Sohail, 2018), and Timo Nasseri: All the Letters in All the Stars (2017), among others.