Alexandra Karakashian

Alexandra Karakashian (b. 1988, Johannesburg) is a South African artist based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Her work stems from her personal and family history and reflects on current issues of exile, migration and refugee-statues. Process and materiality is key to her practice. Employing used engine oil and salt as a medium for painting, she engages in ecological discussion, the threatening instability and subtle collapse; and the unethical seizing of rapidly dwindling natural resources, particularly on the resource-rich African continent. Furthermore she investigates notions of mourning – both of an individual and collective nature – and the lamentation of the loss of land and of those who have been ‘unhomed’.

Her work is part of private and public collections including the Iziko South African National Gallery in South Africa, the Spier Collection in South Africa, the Darvesh Collection in the UAE, The Royal Portfolio Collection, in South Africa, and the Luciano Benetton Collection in Italy.

Education

2015 Master of Fine Art Degree (MFA), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2011 Bachelor of Fine Art Honours Degree (BFA), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.

Solo Exhibitions

2019 A Rhythm For Falling. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, España.
2018 In on Itself, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle, USA.
2018 here they passed, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2017 unbecoming, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2016 Alexandra Karakashian, Villa Medici, Gagliano del Capo, Italy.
2016 Passage, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair: Special Project (SMAC Gallery), Somerset House, London, UK.
2016 GROUND, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 Shifting Grounds, Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 Land, in collaboration with Buhlebeswe Siwani, Infecting the City: Public Arts Festival, Cape Town, South Africa.
2012 Passages, The Black Box, Cape Town, South Africa.

Group exhibitions

2019 Material Insanity. Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden. Marrakech, Morocco.
2018 Wish You Were Here, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2018 Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York City, USA.
2018 Back to the Future III - Abstract Art in South Africa: Past & Present, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2017 X: Part III, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.  
2017 X: Part I, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2017 A Painting Today, STEVENSON, Cape Town, South Africa.
2016 SUMMER SHOW ’16, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2016 UPSTART/STARTUP, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2016 The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute, The Rubelle and Norman Schfler Gallery- Pratt Institute, New York City, USA.
2016 Recent Masters, Michaelis Galleries, University Of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2016 Nothing Personal, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2016 Pastoral Abstraction, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 LUSH, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2015 MAP OF THE NEW ART, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy.
2015 Defining the Narrative, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 Back to the Future II - Abstract Art in South Africa: Past & Present, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2015 Empire, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 Claim of the Land, Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2015 STELLAR, Salon91, Cape Town, South Africa.
2014 Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity, [Travelling Exhibition], Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome; Casa Dei Carraresi, Treviso, Italy.
2014 Sasol New Signatures Finalists, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.
2014 Only Parts, Wits Substation, University of The Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, South Africa.
2014 Paint Matters, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2014 Paperwork: An Exhibition of Contemporary South African Works on Paper, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2013 In the Night I Remember, STEVENSON, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2013 The Xmas Show, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 Back to the Future - Abstract Art in South Africa: Past & Present, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2013 Between the Lines, Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 Small Canvas Project, Benneton Foundation, Venice, Italy.
2012 Impression: Sunset, Salon91, Cape Town, South Africa.
2012 Guest Resident, Nirox Project Space, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2012 Outside the Lines, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, South Africa.
2011 Michaelis Graduate Show, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2011 Thresholds, Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2011 Passing Through, STEVENSON (Project Space), Cape Town, South Africa.

Art fairs

2019 ARCOlisboa. Sabrina Amrani. Lisbon, Portugal.
2019 Art Dubai. SMAC Gallery. Dubai, UAE.
2019 ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.
2018 Untitled. Mariane Ibrahim Gallery. Miami Beach, USA.
2018 FNB Joburg Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Johannesburg, South Africa.
2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Cape Town, South Africa.
2017 Artissima. SMAC Gallery. Turin, Italy.
2017 FNB Joburg Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Johannesburg, South Africa.
2017 Cape Town Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Cape Town, South Africa.
2016 FNB Joburg Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Johannesburg, South Africa.
2016 Cape Town Art Fair. SMAC Gallery.  Cape Town, South Africa.
2014 FNB Joburg Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Residencies

2016 Artist in Residence, Capo d’Arte, Gagliano Del Capo, Italy.
2014 The Talents’ Archive Project, curated by Double Decker London, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece.
2014 National Research Foundation Innovation Scholarship for Masters Study, 2014 Pretoria, South Africa.
2014 MacIver Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 National Research Foundation Innovation Scholarship for Masters Study, South Africa.
2013 Jules Kramer Music & Fine Arts Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 MacIver Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.

Awards

2014 Jules Kramer Music & Fine Arts Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 Top 10 Young African Artists, Business Day Wanted Magazine, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2013 Invited and awarded student, Between the Lines Symposium and Exchange between the Michaelis School of Fine Art & the Braunschweig University of Art - Organised by Colin Richards & Candice Breitz, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa.
2011 Judy Steinberg Painting Prize, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.
2013 Simon Gerson Distinction Prize, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa.

Collections

The Royal Portfolio Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.
Capo d’Arte Collection, Gagliano del Capo, Italy.
The University of Cape Town Art (UCT) Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.
Luciano Benetton Collection, Treviso, Italy.
Spier Art Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.
Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
Knights Bridge International, Los Angeles, USA.
Hans Porer Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.