Artist profile

Sharmistha Ray is an artist, writer, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Kolkata, and raised in Kuwait, Sharmistha has lived a mostly nomadic existence between New York and Mumbai (2006-2017), with a short stint in Berlin (2007-2008). Through the subjective lens of queerness, language, memory, spiritual faith, and personal evidence, their work emerges out of the experiences of war, (im)migration, alienation, and familial and romantic separation to engage themes of intimacy, (be)longing, displacement, and survival. Sharmistha’s practice, which consists of paintings, drawings, printmaking, sculptures, installations, photographs, cultural programming, and hybrid texts, is experiential, research and project-based, theoretical, and interdisciplinary.

Sharmistha has exhibited internationally in the United States and Asia, including solo and group exhibitions at galleries and art fairs in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Solo exhibitions by Sharmistha include we are all islands (2016-2017), which began at Nine Fish gallery in Mumbai and traveled to Mill Hall, in Kochi, India during the third edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale. The critically-acclaimed exhibition drew from Sara Ahmed’s theoretical text Queer Phenomenology to examine modalities of cultural and sexual orientation. Other solo exhibitions include Reflections & Transformations (2013) at Aicon, New York, hidden geographies (2012) at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, and Crossroads (2004) at Pratt Institute. Sharmistha held their first solo exhibition, Queer Series (1998), a series of large-format figurative charcoal drawings, as a student at Williams College with the assistance of a fiscal grant from BiGLaTA, the queer alumni chapter.

The recipient of notable awards including a TED Fellowship (2009), Montblanc Young Artist Worldwide Patronage Award (2012), Joan Mitchell MFA Grant (2004), and nominee for the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship for Visual Art (2014), Sharmistha is also a noted arts writer. Their writings have been published in various online and print magazines including ArtAsiaPacific, Hyperallergic, ArtcriticalArt India, and Take on Art, and the India editions of Vogue and Elle. Sharmistha has spoken on art-based panels, including Art Basel Miami Beach; Review Panel at the Brooklyn Public Library, NY; at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai; and CSMVS (Prince of Wales Museum), Mumbai, among others.

Sharmistha was formerly Managing Director at Bodhi Art (Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Berlin, and Singapore), the inaugural Sales Director – Asia at Hauser & Wirth, and VIP Representative – India at Art Basel. They are frequently invited to artists’ residencies and art colleges as a visiting artist and critic. Some of these have included the City University of New York; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY; Parsons School of Design, New York, NY; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY; Flux Factory, Queens, NY; The Wassaic Project, NY; Piramal Art Residency, Mumbai; and What About Art?, Mumbai, and others.

Sharmistha is a graduate of Williams College (B.A., cum laude, Dean’s List) and Pratt Institute (Dual degree M.S./M.F.A., Highest Honors). Currently, they are Part-Time Faculty at Parsons School of Design where they teach Critical Thinking, a year long immersive class in foundational and contemporary theory, in the Graduate Fine Arts program. Sharmistha also works as a development professional at the CUE Art Foundation, a city-based non-profit that supports emerging and under-represented artists, writers, and curators, and runs educational programming for New York City students.

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