Photograph: Himanshuu Chandrakant Sheth. Image courtesy: Nine Fish Art Gallery

Sharmistha Ray is a New York-based independent visual artist, writer, curator, activist and public speaker working in the field of contemporary art. She has exhibited her work globally in New York, Singapore and India, and prior to this she was the Managing Director of Bodhi Art, an international gallery for contemporary art based in her adopted city of Mumbai, India with branches in Delhi, Singapore, Berlin and New York. She managed more than 100+ exhibitions of contemporary artists at art fairs, galleries and museums around the world, initiated critical new partnerships, stimulated private/public art collecting, and oversaw the gallery’s curatorial, educational and publishing platforms. She is widely regarded for her pioneering role in building new structural and dialogic frameworks that put contemporary art from South Asia on the global map. Between 2007-2008, she was on the gallery search committee for Art HK: Hong Kong International Art Fair (now Art Basel in Hong Kong); in 2011, she was the inaugural Sales Director, Asia for Hauser & Wirth; and from 2013-2014, she was the VIP Representative, India for Art Basel.

Sharmistha’s reviews on contemporary art appear in HyperallergicOcula and Artcritical. In 2018, she was a guest art critic on the December edition of REVIEW PANEL, a panel of established art critics in conversation about topical exhibitions, at the Brooklyn Public Library. In 2015, her public art work made of steel, ON THE SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS, was the most instagrammed work at the Kala Ghoda Festival 2015, the biggest public arts festival in India, and is now in the privately held collection of JSW, the largest steel conglomerate in India. In 2014, she was selected by the Berklee College of Music to create an original art work to celebrate the Grammy and Academy Awards-winning musician, A.R. Rahman, for a tribute at Symphony Hall, Boston.

HIDDEN GEOGRAPHIES, her critically-acclaimed and commercially successful debut solo exhibition in Mumbai in January 2012, fused abstract painting with personal identity and themes of desire, sexuality and pleasure. She was featured concurrently in the India edition of Vogue’s “Vogue Vibe: What To Talk About This Month.” She has also been featured numerous times in the print and online India editions of ElleHarper’s Bazaar and Grazia, and appeared in Forbes and FT: How To Spend It as an art expert. Between 2016 and 2017, she traveled WE ARE ALL ISLANDS, a solo project of new drawings, installations and sculptures addressing alienation in a digitally-mediated world, to Mumbai and Kochi during the 3rdedition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, in India.

A TED Fellow and public speaker, Sharmistha is an advocate for LGBTQI+ causes and gender equality in the art world. She gave a TED Talk in Whistler in 2013 about the public and private crossroads of art, gender and sexuality and was on a panel at SXSW in Austin, Texas about gender biases against women entrepreneurs in 2019. In 2015, she was one of the faces of UNGENDER, a campaign by Elle in collaboration with FOCUS, a city-wide photography festival in Mumbai, on gender non-conformity and expression. From 2014 onwards, Sharmistha has run BELLEVUE SALONS, a project she founded to encourage interdisciplinary cross-pollination and collaboration as strategies to dismantle art world hegemonies and build new ways of thinking about art.

Additionally, she has received numerous awards for visual art including the Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage Award (2012), Joan Mitchell M.F.A. Grant (2004) and BiGLaTA Award (1998). She was nominated for the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship for Visual Arts (2014). Sharmistha is a graduate of Williams College and Pratt Institute with multiple honors, and currently lives and works in New York.

Education

2001-2005  Dual degree: M.S. History of Art & Design/M.F.A. Painting, Pratt Institute, New York

1997-2001  B.A. Art, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. (cum laude)

Solo exhibitions and projects

2017

we are all islands 2, Mill Hall, Kochi, India

2016

we are all islands, Nine Fish Art Gallery, Mumbai, India

2015

On the Seashore of Endless Worlds, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai, India

2014

Sweet Surrender: Studies in Abstraction, Galerie Steph, Singapore

2013

Reflections + Transformations, Aicon Gallery, New York, USA

2012

hidden geographies, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, India

2004

Crossroads, M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, USA

1998

Queer Series, Wilde Gallery, Williams College, Williamstown, USA

Selected Group exhibitions

2016

Studio Picks, The Loft at Lower Parel. Mumbai, India

2016

Art for Concern Annual Charity Exhibition & Auction, Mumbai, India

2015

Sparsh/Tactile, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai, India

2015

The 377191 Wall: A New Window to Understanding, Gallery Beyond, Mumbai, India

2015

Reviving the Retinal, Gallery OED, Kochi, India. Curated by Dr. Kathleen Wyma

2015

India Art Fair, 7th Edition, New Delhi, India

2014

Cursory Glances, Curated by WAA, Palladium Mall, Mumbai, India

2014

Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong

2014

Noir/Blanc, The Loft at Lower Parel, Mumbai, India

2013

Touched by Bhupen, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, India

2013

Vikhroli Skins, an initiative by Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai, India

2013

OUT/OFF: Out of the gallery and off the walls, Chameleon Art Projects, Mumbai, India

2013

India Art Fair, 5th Edition, New Delhi, India

2012

Open Studios, Space 118, Mumbai, India

2012

Museum of Memories, Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai, India

2012

Mumbai Galleries Weekend, sponsored by Citibank, Mumbai, India

2010

Hope for Haiti-India Cares, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, India

2007

In-si-der, Bodhi Art, Mumbai, India. Curated by Sonal Singh and Brinda Kumar

2006

Joan Mitchell M.F.A. Grant Recipients, CUE Art Foundation, New York, USA

2004

Territories, Aicon Gallery, New York, USA. Curated by South Asian Women’s Creative Collective

2004

CAC Juried Exhibition, Contemporary Artists Center, North Adams, USA. Jurors: Mike Glier and Jenny Holzer

2004

Explorations/Innovations, Kingsborough Community College, New York, USA

2004

2004 Annual Pratt MFA Exhibition, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, USA

2004

Grand Group Show, Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA

2004

Drawing Show, Parsons Institute, New York, USA

2004

MFAs Colliding, New York University, New York, USA

2002

Extreme Existence, Schafler Gallery, Pratt Institute, New York, USA

2002

9/11: Artists Respond, Schafler Gallery, Pratt Institute, New York, USA

2000

B.A. Thesis Exhibition, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, USA

2000

Berkshire Artisans Association Juried Show, Lichtenstein Art Center, Pittsfield, USA

Awards and recognition

2014

Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, Visual Arts, Nominee, Italy

2013

L’Oreal Paris Femina Women Awards, Nominee, Artist of the Year, India

2012

Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage Award, Germany

2009

TED Fellowship, USA

2005

Pratt Circle Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Pratt Institute, USA

2005

Certificate of Excellence Award for Outstanding Merit in Graduate Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, USA

2005

Certificate of Excellence Award for Outstanding Merit in Graduate Art History, Pratt Institute, USA

2004

Joan Mitchell M.F.A. Grant, $10,000 Cash Award, USA

2000

cum laude, Dean’s List (four times), Williams College, USA

2000

Berkshire Artisans Association Fellowship, USA

2000

Class 1960 Scholars in Art, Williams College, USA

1998

BiGLaTA Fellowship, $2,500 Cash Award, Williams College, USA

Press and bibliography