Sharmistha Ray in her Mumbai studio. Courtesy: Sharmistha Ray Studio
Sharmistha Ray is a TED Fellow, visual artist, writer, curator, commentator, blogger and arts management professional based between Mumbai and New York who believes that “artistic practice” should be experiential and not merely theoretical. To this end, she has a uniquely multi-faceted approach which encompasses studio time, travel experience, education, management projects and critical writing as equal parts of her practice. “Being on different sides allows me to put on a new pair of glasses each time,” she says. “It allows me to see and experience art more broadly and dimensionally. The world we live in requires a mindset that is always shifting, adjusting, navigating and negotiating new ways of seeing – and being.”
As former Managing Director of Bodhi Art’s six global branches from 2006 to 2010, Sharmistha Ray spearheaded many new initiatives to build a global marketplace for contemporary Indian art. Selected in 2010 by Art Basel in conjunction with Pro Helvetia for a curator’s tour of Switzerland during Art Basel, she has been involved in all facets of exhibition production, from working with international artists and curating to marketing and selling in the global arena. Her academic essays on South Asian Diaspora art facilitated scholarship, discourse and market avenues within India. Her art column in The Economic Times in 2010 was the primary source for real perspectives on the Indian art market, in addition to which she has authored numerous essays and articles on contemporary art. In 2011, she consulted as Sales Director Asia for Hauser & Wirth, and in 2012 she was appointed VIP Relations India for Art Basel.
In 2011, Ray also returned to the studio to create work for her debut solo exhibition of abstract paintings in Mumbai. The exhibition, Hidden Geographies (2012), comprising new large-scale canvases, was a major commercial and critical success, with Ray featured in many leading lifestyle, art and news publications across India including Vogue India and Bombay Times. In 2012, she was also awarded a commission by the Mont Blanc Young Artist Worldwide Patronage Collection & in 2013, she was shortlisted for the L’Oréal Paris Femina Women Awards 2013 in the arts category. She has since been included in residencies, workshops and group exhibitions including a major show sponsored by Citibank in Mumbai in 2012. Her works are in private collections around the world, including the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, India, Singapore & Australia.
Ray was born in Kolkata, and lived in Kuwait before moving to the United States with her family in 1997. She has degrees from Williams College (B.A., Art), and a dual degree M.S. in Theory, Criticism & History of Art, Design & Architecture & M.F.A. in Painting from Pratt Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including a TED Fellowship (2009) and Joan Mitchell M.F.A. Grant (2004).