Sara Raza is an award winning global contemporary art curator and writer based in New York City. She is the author of the Punk Orientalism: The Art of Rebellion published by Black Dog Press London, available now as of 25 October 2022. Sara is the 2021-22 recipient of the Red Burns Fellowship awarded by the New York University’s Tisch School of the Art’s Interactive Telecommunications Program for distinguished researchers and scholars, and teaches courses on the Masters program specializing in critical thought from a post-colonial and post-Soviet perspective. She is also a member of the School of Visual Arts faculty for the MA Curatorial Studies Program focusing on 21st century collecting practices. Between 2015-18 she was the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa selected by an esteemed group of international experts to lead the third phase of the multi-year Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative which culminated in the critically acclaimed exhibition But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa, which debuted in New York (2016) and traveled to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2018). In 2019 she founded the global visual cultures curatorial studio Punk Orientalism through which she works on exhibitions, education projects and publications in Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, creating an important cultural bridge with the US.
Born in 1979 London, UK, Sara is British, and is of Persian, Central Asian, and Ottoman heritage and belongs to a historical intellectual family of academics, economists, engineers, law makers/ military strategists (anti-imperial), patrons (architecture/ historical preservation), scientists and surveyors (archaeological) and has lived and traveled extensively, since early childhood in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She pursued studies towards her Ph.D (ABD) at the Royal College of Art, London, where her research focused on Post-Soviet Orientalism under the supervision of renowned film and moving image theorist Professor Mark Nash (2012-14), and earned her MA in 20th Century Art History, Theory and Philosophy from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2003), and received a BA (honors) in English Literature and History of Art also from Goldsmiths College (2001). Raza is a specialist in contemporary global curatorial knowledge and 20th and 21st century museum collecting practices as well as professional interests in architectural art history, performance based practices, and the intersection of art, the ancient thinking sciences, and emergent technologies. She is a member of the International Center of Photography (ICP) international advisory council and sits on the scientific committee for the San Diego Museum of Art’s 2024 exhibition Wonders of Creation: Art, Science, and Innovation in the Islamic World. In 2021 she was selected to design and direct the first Masters in Museum Studies in Central Asia by the Art and Culture Development Foundation, under the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan, and is responsible for designing future programs. Formerly, she was a SAHA Curatorial Research Resident in Istanbul, Turkey(2018) and a Fellow of the International Curator’s Forum, (ICF) UK (2017-18) for curators and scholars from the UK.