Saira Ansari – writer / researcher 
— stories, art history, animals, rebels, sci-fi

Publications and Research at the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Managing Editor Abbas Akhavan (SKIRA / Works on Paper, 2017-18) and Pouran Jinchi (Akkadia Press / Works on Paper, 2019); Recipient of Lahore Biennale Foundation Research Fellowship (2016), granted in conjunction with Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong) – developing a digital archive of Zubeida Agha (1922–1997). Previously, Director of Communications at The Third Line, Dubai and Contributing Editor (Art) at the South Asian bi-annual literary journal Papercuts.

Independent researcher and writer with contributions to art and culture publications. Focus includes South Asian art history, global modernity, transnational discourse, publishing and science fiction. Curatorial projects include The importance of staying quiet (Hong Kong, 2014), a collaborative project with Umer Butt (Director, Grey Noise) and within | without (London, 2018), a group exhibition in collaboration with indigo+madder. Recent research work includes the paper Temporal Exchanges: East and West Pakistan Exhibition Programs, 1947-71.

Essays in: Everything we do is Music, Drawing Room and Cornerhouse Publications (UK, 2017); Rupak / 2016-2017, Documenta 14 and Grey Noise (Greece/UAE, 2017); Syntax Freezone: Anthology of Essays on Language and Accent), THE STATE and Maraya Art Centre (UAE, 2015); PIX: The Pakistan Issue (India, 2015); and Sohbet: Journal of Contemporary Arts and Culture, Vol. 2 (Pakistan, 2011). Contributed articles to: Art Asia Pacific, The Rio Times, The State, Canvas, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, ArtNow Pakistan, Herald Magazine, The Friday Times, Tribe, Khaleej Times, FOLIO, Libas International, and Art Dubai Blog. More 

Currently residing between Lahore, Pakistan and Dubai, UAE.


  • MA (Hons.) Visual Art, National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore – Session 2009-2010
  • BFA Painting, National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore – 2004


  • Research Curator
    The importance of staying quiet – six decades of minimal art from Pakistan
    Joint project with Umer Butt (Director of Grey Noise, Dubai)
    Yallay gallery, Hong Kong – 2014 – link


  • Research Fellow
    Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) Inaugural Research Fellowship, in conjunction with Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong
    Developing a digital archive on Zubeida Agha (1922–1997), a pioneering modernist artist whose roles as gallerist and patron are largely unexamined. The project aims to access and digitize selected material including rarely circulated writings, ephemera, correspondence, and photographs that will enable future research on Agha’s legacy.
    2015 – 2017 (Currently in digitising phase)


  • Writer in Residence
    Murree Museum Artist Residency (MMAR)
    Murree, Pakistan – August 2016


  • Fellow
    Campus Art Dubai, Core 3.0
    Dubai, UAE – Oct 2014 – Mar 2015


intervention, curation, of the world of misc.

  • Text intervention: (Untitled) Avoid Bad Dreams – part of exhibition Avoid Bad Dreams at Green Art Gallery, Dubai. 2019
  • Co-curator: within | without – a group exhibition in collaboration with indigo+madder. Asia House, London. 2018 – link
  • Talk: Publications of Resistance – In conversation with Rasheed Araeen on art journals Black Phoenix and Third Text. March Meeting 2018, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. 2018
  • Intervention: moonshow – a group exhibition, part of Loser’s Club programming, Grey Noise, Dubai. 2018
  • Advisor: River in an Ocean, a collateral exhibition of LB01 curated by Abdullah Qureshi and Natasha Malik. Lahore. 2018
  • Jury member: Imran Mir Art Prize 2016-17 


  • 2012 – ‘Conversations in Hyperreality’ – Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata, India
  • 2011 – ‘the work that will probably never end’ – Grey Noise Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan


  • 2015 – Dreamscape Radio – Campus Art Dubai, Independent Projects, Dubai, UAE
  • 2013 – Text Embodied: Transformation of Text into an Experience of Art – Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia
  • 2013 – Lahore Letters – Hedah Gallery, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • 2012 – – Grey Noise, Dubai
  • 2011 – Step Across This Line: Contemporary Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – Asia House, London
  • 2011 – MARKER, Projects Section – experimental art spaces – Art Dubai, Dubai
  • 2011 – Hear Me Roar: New Art from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran – Jamjar Gallery, Dubai
  • 2011 – Special Artists’ Project, India Art Summit 2011, Delhi
  • 2011 – MA (Hons.) Visual Art Degree show – Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, National College of Arts, Lahore
  • 2010 – Sanjh – Alhamra art gallery, Lahore
  • 2009 – Refreshed: young artist’s exhibition – Alhamra art gallery, Lahore
  • 2005 – Emerging Talent – VM Gallery, Karachi
  • 2005 – Encore – Nairang Gallery, Lahore
  • 2004 – Silencio, BFA Degree Show – National College of Arts, Lahore
  • 2004 – Drawing, curated by Usman Saeed – Rohtas Gallery, Lahore
  • 2003 – All Punjab Art exhibition – Alhamra art gallery, Lahore
  • 2003 – Anti-Globalisation Workshop for artists I – Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, National College of Arts, Lahore