March 1, 2016 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions   

MARCH 3 – APRIL 9, 2016
at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York

The Light of Spirit, 2016. Wood, Electric Plastic Candles, Led Bulbs, Sand, Cast Cement. (86 ½ X 82 ½ X 118 in)













Curated by Leeza Ahmady
Independent curator and director of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)
Opening Reception with the artist: Thursday, March 3, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm

FX Harsono has been a central figure of the Indonesian art scene for over 40 years, recognized for his experimental, conceptual approach, the use of everyday materials, and deep engagement with social and political issues. Over the course of recent decades that have seen enormous transformations in Indonesia, Harsono has continuously explored the role of the artist in society, in particular his relationship to history.

The Chronicles of Resilience encompasses the artist’s efforts over the past five years to document significant events, people, and circumstances surrounding massacres committed against Indonesians of Chinese decent across villages and cities in East Java from 1947 to 1949. After years of investigation, and the discovery of many neglected sites, Harsono has created a series of artworks that seek to give form to what has been buried along with the bodies: not only the stories of individual lives, but the historical memory of a nation. The exhibition centers on two new installations specially conceived for the show. Memory of the Survivor and The Light of Spirit (2016) function as monuments of remembrance, commemorating the specificity of personal tragedies alongside the collective loss, and bringing light to a past that had long been consigned to the darkness. Other works in a variety of media reflect the artist’s own attempts to come to terms with the reality of the sites as physical testaments to history, incorporating documentary materials such as government reports, Google maps and the artist’s own handmade rubbings of inscriptions.

Harsono was awarded the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art in 2015 and the Prince Klaus Award in 2014. His work has been shown in over 100 exhibitions around the world. Recent biennials include Indonesia’s Jogja Biennale (2013) and this year’s Sydney Biennale (March 18 – June 5).

For Leeza’s complete curatorial statement, click here.

Tyler Rollins Fine Art
29 W 20th St # 10W, New York, NY 10011

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land

October 7, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions,Openings,Upcoming Events   

November 9th thru December 22nd, 2013

ESLITE Gallery, Taipei

Co-curated by Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agro Andruff


Khadim Ali / Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan / Said Atabekov / Lara Baladi / Jeanno Gaussi / Mariam Ghani / Reena Saini Kallat / Jagannath Panda / Yelena & Viktor Vorobayev / Sharif Waked

This exhibition examines the nomadism of contemporary migrant artists who deliberately resist location and de-territorialize the origins of their work. It consists of a selection of some of today’s most successful artists based in or originating from various regions in Asia, including the Middle East. These artists are engaged in the acts of moving, living, and working on multiple continents or are addressing such phenomena in their practices consciously, or in some cases unconsciously. They investigate, challenge, and/ or renew traditional nomadic ideals in view of contemporary lifestyles relative to ideas about space, place, people, movement, and nature.  Through their nomadism, these artists elude the fixed identity categories often imposed on them by their country or countries of adoption.

The word “nomad” comes from the Greek and is defined as “the one who wanders for pasture.” Since the dawn of the modern era, however, or perhaps even since the birth of cities, the term has been used to mean one who moves for various reasons. The paradoxes of a life on the move are playfully highlighted in the exhibition’s double-edged title—to both acknowledge the real challenges of such a lifestyle and also to examine the often fantastic, uncanny images conjured by the term nomad. Namely, one who engages in wild, uninhibited meanderings in unregulated territories at the mercy of highly unexpected and dangerous conditions and circumstances.

From the 1960s onward, significant numbers of artists from all regions of the world—Asia, Africa, South America, and elsewhere—travelled to Europe and North America, and vice-versa. Whether they immigrated for a short period or indefinitely, their art not only contributed to the dynamics of their newly adopted art scenes but transformed art-making processes, theory, and criticism, and ultimately art history altogether. Art historians are therefore now beginning to recognize the starting point of contemporary art by delineating  artists and movements from 1970 forward as “an art that is of the world for the world.”

This exhibition was inspired by the curators’ acknowledgment of this shift as directly connected to the phenomena of artists increasingly moving from place to place and living and working in countries and regions other than their own, especially over the past three decades. Furthermore, the practice of the few brave artists who ventured to isolated places in the world on their own has now become completely institutionalized. Residency programs have sprouted up in museums, universities, and arts organizations in cities, towns, and even villages, large and small, cosmopolitan or remote. A generation of thirty- and forty-something successful artists today will list at least a dozen local and international residencies in their resumes.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is the fruit of four years of collaborative research and conversations between curators Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agró Andruff, which led to the selection of the ten artists currently in the exhibition. Some of the artists are culturally and historically connected to the notion of nomadism because of their geographical affiliations (Said Atabekov, Yelena Vorobyeva, and Viktor Vorobyev); others because they make the concept of nomadism, displacement, and migration one of the central subjects of their art practice (Mariam Ghani, Sharif Waked, Jeanno Gaussi, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, and to some extent Reena Kallat and Jagannath Panda); and than there are those who may have touched upon this subject more peripherally but with works that make a strong statement in this specific context (Lara Baladi and Khadim Ali).

While the list of artists initially under consideration included individuals and collectives from Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Mexico, among other countries, the final selection for this specific iteration of the project focused on participants from Asia and the Middle East, including India, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

The media employed by the artists reflect the wide variety of their practices: from the videos of Mariam Ghani and Sharif Waked to the photography-based works of Said Atabekov, Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, and Lara Baladi ; the sculptural works and installations by Jagannath Panda, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Reena Kallat, and the Vorobyevs; and the paintings and works on paper by Jeanno Gaussi, Reena Kallat, Jagannath Panda and Khadim Ali.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is an open-ended and ongoing project, which the curators envision gaining a nomadic existence in its own right, traveling through different venues in different countries with the possibility of changing the participating artists as it moves from place to place in order to broaden the dialogue concerning various forms of contemporary nomadism.

To read more about the exhibition and the participating artists visit: http://ahmadyarts.com/exhibitions/nomadness


January 24, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions,Past Events   

Visual Art Section: Season of Cambodia, A Living Arts Festival

Savy Sareth 'Mon Boulet,' 2011. Metal 200cm sphere

April 1 through May 31, 2013

Co-Curated by Leeza Ahmady and Erin Gleeson.

IN RESIDENCE is a citywide visual arts program centered on two-month residencies for 10 visual artists and 1 curator from Cambodia to live and work in New York; complimented by a dynamic map of public programs at major New York City institutions; including solo exhibitions, open studios, symposiums, and conversations with artists and curators most critically involved in shaping Cambodia’s unique contemporary art scene.

IN RESIDENCE invites audiences to engage with new perspectives on Cambodia’s history and contemporaneity. For decades, Cambodia has been subject to international field research – a practice that has largely shaped distanced, third person perspectives around the nation’s occupied and traumatic histories. In the last decade, it is largely Cambodia’s local and diaspora visual artists who, by giving form to their experiences, are responsible for anchoring critical first-person perspectives.

The selected artists work across a range of practices including drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance. Born between 1970 and 1987 – either during the U.S. military bombing campaign, the Khmer Rouge era, or Vietnamese occupation – the artists interpret their histories from different angels while many also respond to current cultural changes forced by globalization.

The festival’s contemporary artists’ lineup includes internationally renowned artists Sopheap Pich, Rattana Vandy, Samnang Khvay and Seckon Leang, as well as leading regional and local figures Sokchanlina Lim, Amy Lee Sanford, Sareth Svay, Sok Than, Kanitha Tith, Lyno Vuth, Maline Yim, and New York-based Pete Pin.

Residency Partners: Asia Art Archive in America, Asian Cultural Council, Bose Pacia, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Residency Unlimited (RU), and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

Public Program Partners: Asia Society and Museum, Arts Brookfield, BAM, Cornell University, ICI (Independent Curators International), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parsons The New School of Design, Tyler Rollins Fine Art

Media Partner: ArtAsiaPacific


Tarjama/Translation Opening

June 6, 2010 - filed under Exhibitions,Openings,Past Events   

TARJAMA/TRANSLATION: Contemporary Art from the Middle East, Central Asia & its Diasporas

Sharif Waked. Get Out of Here, 2009, Stencil on wall, 148 x 252 in. Courtesy of the artist


Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

Cornell University

August 14 thru October 3, 2010

This groundbreaking exhibition, co-curated by Leeza Ahmady and Iftikhar Dadi, and assistant curated with Reem Fadda, was commissioned and organized by the New York non-profit art organization ArteEast, and initially exhibited at the Queens Museum of Art in Spring 2009.

Tarjama/Translation features the works of 28 Middle Eastern artists who explore processes of cultural and artistic translation from different angles.  Included in the theme is how multiple identities and affiliations are created and challenged, how people and places are connected through economics or politics, how different histories and traditions (including artistic) are interpreted, and the relationship between languages, images, and texts from different sources.

Gulsun Karamustafa. The City and Secret Panther Fashion, 2007, DVD, Projection, 13:00. Courtesy of the Artist


Ayad Alkadhi, Nazgol Ansarinia, Hamdi Attia, Lara Baladi, Yto Barrada, Esra Ersen, Khaled Hafez, Emily Jacir, Pouran Jinchi, John Jurayj, Gülsün Karamustafa, Bouchra Khalili, Almagul Menlibayeva, Farhad Moshiri, Rabih Mroue, Rahraw Omarzad, Michael Rakowitz, Khalil Rabah, Khaled Ramadan, Solmaz Shahbazi, Wael Shawky, Mitra Tabrizian, Alexander Ugay, Sharif Waked, Dilek Winchester, Yelena Vorobyeva & Viktor Vorobyev, Akram Zaatari

For full information and images, click here.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University
Central & University Aves.
Ithaca, NY 14853