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
2021
Consolations.SMAC Gallery. Cape Town, South Africa.
2021
Unfolding Pause II. GNYP Gallery. Berlin, Germany.
2019
A rhythm for falling. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.
2018
In on Itself. Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle, USA.
2018
here they passed. SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
2017
unbecomin.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
2020
Ver Versus Ver II. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.
2020
Ver Versus Ver. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.
2019
Inner Landscape. Galleria Anna Marra. Rome, Italy.
2019
Material Insanity. Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden. Marrakech, Morocco.
2019
Home Affairs, as part of Cape Town Art Week, Cape Town, South Africa.
2019
Satellites, Satellites Project Space, curated by Alexandra Karakashian and Khanya Mashabela, Cape Town, South Africa.
2019
Filling in the Gaps, at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa
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, R. STEVENSON (Project Space), Cape Town, South Africa.
Art fairs
2021
ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.
2020
ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.
2020
Cape Town Art Fair. SMAC Gallery. Cape Town, South Africa.
2019
Artissima. SMAC Gallery. Torino, Italy.
2019
Artissima. Sabrina Amrani. Torino, Italy.
2019
viennacontemporary. Sabrina Amrani. Vienna, Austria.
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.
2016
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Special Project, Solo Booth, London, United Kingdom
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.
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 and Braunschweig University, Germany
Awards
2014
National Research Foundation Innovation Scholarship for Masters Study, South Africa.
2014
MacIver Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2014
Jules Kramer Music & Fine Arts Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013
Jules Kramer Music & Fine Arts Scholarship, Cape Town, South Africa.
2013
MacIver 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
FAS Collection, Portugal.
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.
Publications
2017
Karakashian, A. ALEXANDRA KARAKASHIAN, SMAC Gallery (Publishing), Cape Town.
2014
Benetton, L, Daehnke, N & van Rensburg, D. . SOUTH AFRICA: 10 x 12 @ SA –
Contemporary Artists From South Africa. Fabrica: Treviso: [Sp].
2014
Investing In South African Art For Over 25 Years: Sasol New Signatures . . Sasol and
the Association of Arts Pretoria, Pretoria: 45.
2011
MacKenny, V. Threshold. Michaelis Gallery, Cape Town: 15.
2011
Michaelis School of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition . Michaelis School of Fine Art,
University of Cape Town, Cape Town: [Sp].