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

Sharmistha Ray is a contemporary visual artist whose work encompasses painting, installations, electronic media, photography, sculpture and drawing. She is a TED Fellow who has exhibited in Delhi, Hong Kong, New York and Singapore and recently staged the critically acclaimed travelling exhibit we are all islands in Mumbai and Kochi.

A citizen of the world, Ray’s works address personal identity as viewed through the chaos of migration. Born in Kolkata, Ray spent her childhood growing up in Kuwait until the Gulf War brought her back briefly to Kolkata. Ray pursued her further studies at Williams College and Pratt Institute in America.

Fate struck when Ray happened upon a show at the Reina Sofia in Madrid that would change her outlook forever. A retrospective exhibition of the radical gay painter, Bhupen Khakar, the show had a visceral impact on Ray and fueled her determination to return to India—if only to bear witness to the incredible subjects Khakar painted.

Ray returned to her birthplace of Kolkata in 2006. Then, after a few months of capturing the sensations of urban life in miniature vignettes, fate struck again. In a chance encounter with a long-lost acquaintance, she was led to discover the city by the Arabian Sea—Mumbai.

Ray has called Mumbai home for the past decade where, in addition to exhibiting, she is the founder of Bellevue Salons a popular cross-pollinating platform for dialogues in art and culture.

Education

2001-2005  M.S. Art History / M.F.A. Painting, Pratt Institute, New York

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

Solo exhibitions and projects

2017

we are all islands 2, Mill Hall Space, Kochi, India. Presented by Nine Fish Art Gallery

2016

we are all islands, Nine Fish Art Gallery, Mumbai, India (Catalogue with Essay by Nancy Adajania)

2015

On the Seashore of Endless Worlds, Public Artwork sponsored by JSW, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai, India

2014

Sweet Surrender: Studies in Abstraction, Galerie Steph, Singapore (Catalogue)

2013

Reflections + Transformations, Aicon Gallery, New York (Catalogue with Interview with Kit White)

2012

hidden geographies, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, India (e-Catalogue with Essay by Nancy Adajania)

2004

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

1998

Queer Series, Williams College, Williamstown, USA

Group exhibitions

2016

Studio Picks, The Loft at Lower Parel and Mojarto presented by NDTV, Mumbai, India

2016

Art for Concern Annual Charity Exhibition & Auction, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai, India

2015

Sparsh/Tactile, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2015, Mumbai, India

2015

The 377191 Wall: A New Window to Understanding, in support of 6th Ed. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, Gallery Beyond, Mumbai, India

2015

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

2015

India Art Fair (art fair), New Delhi, India

2014

Asia Contemporary Art Show (art fair), Hong Kong

2014

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

2013

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

2013

Touched by Bhupen, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, India (catalogue)

2013

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

2013

RESIST, Engendered Gallery, travelling exhibition Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai

2013

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

2012

Open Studios, Space 118, Wadibunder, Mumbai, India

2012

Museum of Memories, site-specific installation, Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai, India

2012

Mumbai Gallery Weekend, sponsored by Citibank, Taj Land’s End, Mumbai, India

2012

Can You See Me?, Engendered Gallery, New Delhi, India (e-catalogue essay by Deepanjana Pal)

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 (catalogue)

2004

Territories, Aicon Gallery, Organized by the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, New York, USA (catalogue)

2004

CAC Juried Exhibition, Contemporary Artists Center, North Adams, USA

2004

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

2004

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

2004

Grand Group Show, Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA

2004

Drawing Show, Parsons Institute, New York, USA

2004

MFAs Colliding, New York University, New York, USA

2002

Extreme Existence, Schafler Gallery, New York, USA

2002

9/11: Artists Respond, Schafler Gallery, 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, Umbria, Italy

2013

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

2012

Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage Project

2009

TED Fellowship, TEDIndia, Mysore

2004

Joan Mitchell M.F.A. Grant, USA

2005

Pratt Circle Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Pratt Institute

2005

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

2005

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

2000

Berkshire Artisans Association Fellowship, Pittsfield, USA

2000

Class 1960 Scholars in Art, Williams College, USA

1998

BiGLaTA Fellowship, Williams College, USA

Press and bibliography

  • Dinesh, Arya P, “Seamless Expressions,” Indulge, Indian Express, Feb 2017

  • Domscheit-D’Souza, Katharina, “Queering the Landscape,” Exhibition review, Take on Art, Issue 1, Vol. 3, Jan-Jun 2017

  • Adajania, Nancy, “A Polymorphous Love: Queering the Straight and Narrow,” Catalogue Essay, we are all islands, 2016

  • “Beyond Words,” Harper’s Bazaar, 2016

  • Couto, Cheryl-Ann, “Digital Dystopia,” Elle India, 2016

  • “Artist Sharmistha Ray takes us behind the scenes of her solo exhibition,” Vogue India, 2016

  • Das, Kusumita, “An archipelago of art forms,” The Hindu, 2016

  • Singh, Deepali, “Two Women, Two Shows,” DNA After Hours, Oct 2016

  • Doshi, Riddhi, “Merging into a Digital Reality,” 2016

  • “A Trip to an Astral Land,” Mumbai Mix, Oct 2016

  • Eng, Karen, “In Search of the Queer Divine,” TED Fellows Blog, 2016

  • Basu, Indira, “Redefining body politics,” The Hindu, 29 Apr 2016.

  • Fernando, Benita, “Women gaze back at Raja Ravi Varma,” Midday, 24 Apr 2016.

  • “The Warhol Effect,” Malavika’s Mumbai, Midday, 26 Nov 2015.

  • “Art in Motion,” Verve, August 2015.

  • Louis, Maria, “Being Woman,” Architect and Interiors India, August 2015

  • “Artist Sharmistha Ray Unveils First Figurative Painting Mythic Beings,” Gaysi Family, www.gaysifamily.com, July 24, 2015

  • Sangghvi, Malavika, “Soulful Salon,” Midday, July 21, 2015

  • Tata, Huzan, “Three’s Company,” Verve, July 2015, pp. 62-63

  • Sangghvi, Malavika, “The Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project,” Midday, July 13, 2015

  • “Indian Artists Who Are Exploring Sex & Sexuality in Important Ways,” Homegrown, www.homegrown.co.in, June 22, 2015

  • “8 Things I’d Do If I Weren’t Me,” Alter Ego, Women’s Health, May 2015

  • “Crescent of a Woman,” Architect and Interiors India, March 2015

  • “Painting the Town Blue,” Times of India, Feb. 2015

  • Shah, Lajja, Art India Magazine

  • Chevalwala, Arshie, “Sharmistha Ray Images a Painting in 3D,” Elle India, www.elle.in, Feb. 2015

  • Doshi, Riddhi, “Visitors get up close and personal with art,” Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Feb. 9, 2015

  • Baweja, Rhea, “Review: 3rd Edition of The Gaysi Zine is a marvel in visual expression, ” www.homegrown.co.in, Nov 2014

  • “Art Party,” Elle India, Nov 2014

  • Chandarana, Nittal, “Arty Hearty,” Verve India, www.vervemagazine.in, Oct 7, 2014

  • “Host with the Most,” Mumbai Mirror, Pune Mirror & Ahmedabad Mirror, October 2014

  • Sangghvi, Malavika, “The Maestro with a Thousand Crystals,” Midday, November 24, 2014

  • Chandarana, Nittal, “Arty Hearty,” Verve India, October 2014

  • Sangghvi, Malavika, “Smart Art Move,” Midday, October 2014

  • Sangghvi, Malavika, “Revisiting the Masters,” Midday, August 2014

  • Shah, Siddhartha, “Space between Spaces,” Solo exh. review for, Art India Magazine (Volume 18, Issue 4), 2014

  • Mehta, Samanta Batra, “In her own voice,” Solo exh. review, Take on Art, 2014

  • Catalogue, Touched by Bhupen, 2014

  • “Critic’s Choice” listing for Solo exhibition Sweet Surrender, TimeOut Singapore, Jan 2014

  • White, Kit, Interview with the Artist, catalogue for Reflections + Transformations, 2013

  • “Alpha Female,” Elle India Magazine, Oct. 2013

  • “Panorama: Auction of Modern and Contemporary Art in Aid of Rotary Club of Madras,” Catalogue, January 2013

  • “Delhi Spread,” Art + Auction Magazine, Jan. 2013

  • Cover Focus, Femina, India, May 2012

  • Pal, Deepanjana, “The Act of Seeing,” e-catalogue essay for Can You See Me?, 2012

  • Adajania, Nancy, “How the Nomad Holds, Grasps and Moulds the Shape of her Location,” e-catalogue essay for Hidden Geographies, 2012

  • Banerjee, Olina, “Global Art Comes Home,” India Today, 13 Feb 2012

  • Bhalla, Simran, “Spaced, out,” Time Out Delhi, Feb 2012

  • Shahani, Parmesh, “Geographies of Being,” Verve (Vol. 20 Issue 2), Feb 2012

  • Dixit-Hathi, Nirali, “Look hues here,” Bombay Times, Feb 9, 2012.

  • Sahani, Alaka, “Bold and Colourful,” The Indian Express, Feb 5, 2012

  • Mazumder, Jayeeta, “Beauty always resides in the mundane: Sharmistha Ray,” DNA, Jan 17, 2012

  • Campbell, Diana, “Show and Tell,” Vogue India (Vol. 5 Issue 4), Jan 2012, pp. 93-94

  • Ratnam, Dhamini, “The Art of Peeling Pink,” Sunday Midday, Dec 25, 2011