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.
Nada Raza is Artistic Director of the Ishara Art Foundation. Raza was previously Research Curator at Tate Research Centre: Asia, with a particular focus on South Asia, and led on Tate activity in the region. She co-curated Bhupen Khakhar: You Can't Please All in 2016, awarded Exhibition of the Year 2016 at the India Today awards in New Delhi and at Eastern Eye's Arts Culture & Theatre Awards in London.
Alongside collection building, supervising research and producing public events, she organised displays of work by international artists including Meshac Gaba, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Zarina Hashmi, Sheela Gowda, Amar Kanwar and Mrinalini Mukherjee. Raza was guest curator of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2014 and curated a thematic exhibition, The Missing One, for the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh and the Office for Contemporary Art in Norway in 2016. Raza previously worked on international art at the Institute for International Visual Art (Iniva) and at Green Cardamom in London, maintaining close links with the MENASA region. She holds an MA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and is a doctoral candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Zarina, Sky from the portfolio Home is a Foreign Place 1999 © Zarina, image courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine