Date: Tuesday, 28 February 2023
Time: 10:30am – 1pm
Venue: Ishara Art Foundation and The Common Room, Alserkal Avenue
Organised by: Ishara Art Foundation, hosted by the Common Room, Alserkal Arts Foundation
Registration: Click here
Notations on Time – Public Talks Programme comprises of curatorial and artistic presentations accompanying the exhibition currently running at the Ishara Art Foundation. Curated by Sandhini Poddar and Sabih Ahmed, the exhibition explores the philosophical and political dimensions of time through the works of 20 contemporary artists from South Asia and its diaspora. The talks bring together the exhibition curators and artists to elicit responses to questions such as where and how does one read time, and what possibilities does art offer to think through such questions.
10:30am – 11:30am, Ishara Art Foundation
Curatorial walk led by Sandhini Poddar and Sabih Ahmed at Ishara Art Foundation
11:30 am – 12:30pm: Common Room, Warehouse 51
Conversation with Sheba Chhachhi, Mariah Lookman and Anoli Perera, moderated by Saira Ansari
12:30pm – 1pm: Refreshments
The event will be conducted in English. Pre-registration is mandatory due to limited seats.
With special thanks to Alserkal Arts Foundation and Volte Projects for their support.
About the Curators
Sandhini Poddar is a London-based art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, where she is responsible for acquisitions, commissions, and research for the future museum. Previously, Poddar served on the curatorial team at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation from 2007 until 2016 as part of its international Asian Art Initiative. During her tenure, she curated ground-breaking exhibitions on modern and contemporary Asian art including, ‘V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life, ‘Being Singular Plural’, and ‘Anish Kapoor: Memory’. She also organized the Guggenheim’s presentation of ‘Zarina: Paper Like Skin’.
Poddar writes on contemporary art, aesthetics, and politics and has contributed articles for magazines such as Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, and Art India. She has post-graduate degrees from New York University and Mumbai University. Poddar recently curated ‘Indra’s Net’ for Frieze London. She is a Trustee of South London Gallery.
Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. Prior to Ishara, Ahmed was a Senior Researcher and Projects Manager at Asia Art Archive from 2009 to 2019. Over the years, he has led research and digitisation projects around artist archives, organised international conferences on art history and educational resources, and has co-curated exhibitions in Barcelona, Dhaka, Delhi, Hong Kong and Shanghai. At Ishara, he has curated exhibitions and programmes that include ‘Staging the Contemporary: The Next Generation’, a symposium organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair (New Delhi), ‘Navjot Altaf: Pattern’ among others. Ahmed’s writings have been published by Mousse, the Whitworth, Arts Cabinet, onCurating, and he serves on the Advisory Board of Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation, New Delhi.
About the Moderator
Saira Ansari is a writer and editor who employs creative non-fiction to think about art practice and criticism, feminist histories, gardens, grief, science fiction, and South Asia and its real and imagined peripheries. As an editor, Ansari’s projects include monographs on Bani Abidi (The Artist Who, Hatje Cantz, 2022) and Sahand Hesamiyan (Primary Structures, Black Dog Press, 2023). As managing editor, projects include Khalil Rabah: Falling Forward / Works (1995–2025) (Sharjah Art Foundation/Hatje Cantz, 2022), Art in the Age of Anxiety (Sharjah Art Foundation/Mörel Books, 2020), and Abbas Akhavan (Skira, 2018). Ansari has contributed essays to publications for Lala Rukh, Fahd Burki, Timo Nasseri and Pacita Abad, and her research focuses on Pakistani modernist Zubeida Agha.
About the Artists
Sheba Chhachhi is an artist, photographer and thinker based in New Delhi, India. Her practice investigates questions of gender, eco-philosophy, violence and visual cultures, with an emphasis on the recuperation of cultural memory. An activist/photographer in the women’s movement in the 1980s, Chhachhi is known for creating intimate, sensorial encounters through large-scale multimedia installations. She has exhibited widely over the years, including the Gwangju, Taipei, Moscow, Singapore and Havana biennales. Her works are part of significant public and private collections including the Tate Modern (London), Kiran Nadar Museum (Delhi), Bose Pacia (New York), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore), Devi Art Foundation (Delhi), National Gallery of Modern Art (Delhi) and the Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection (Dubai). Chhachhi speaks, writes and teaches in both institutional and non-formal contexts.
Mariah Lookman is an artist based between Galle, Sri Lanka, and Karachi, Pakistan. Specialising in process-centred and research-based practice, she also teaches and curates. Currently, she teaches in the graduate programme at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Over the years her practice has evolved from single authorship projects to collaborative work. Most recently, Mariah was commissioned for the Istanbul Biennial in 2022, where she built an aquatic garden with a meditation and performance deck titled ‘Nelumbo’ accompanied by a video installation titled ‘A search for Sanjeewani in Sri Lanka’. She was a participating artist in the Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan and Colomboscope Art Festival in Sri Lanka in 2021.
Anoli Perera is a painter, sculptor and installation artist based between Colombo, Sri Lanka, and New Delhi, India. As a writer, she has contributed consistently to bring visibility to contemporary art in Sri Lanka. She is a founding member of Theertha Artists Collective and has played an instrumental role as an institution builder, supporting her peers in revitalizing the arts in Colombo through strategic programming, workshops and international collaborations. From the 1990s, her aesthetic interventions — political, personal and feminist — ushered in a new wave of art-making in Sri Lanka. Perera has deployed her work to present contradictory as well as complex narratives that emerge when living in contemporary society.