Curriculum vitae

Ali Akbar Mehta (b.1983, Mumbai) is a Transmedia artist, curator, and researcher. Through a research-based practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that map narratives of history, memory, and identity constructs through a multifocal lens of violence, conflict, and trauma. He is a founding member and current co-Artistic Director (w/ Marianne Savallampi) of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki; a board member of Kiila ry, and pursuing his Doctoral Research in the Contemporary Art Department at Aalto University, Helsinki.

Education

2019 – ongoing
Doctoral Researcher, Contemporary Art, Aalto University, School of Art, Design & Architecture, Helsinki, FI
2015 – 2018
MA (Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art), Aalto University, Helsinki, FI
2001 – 2005
BFA (Painting), Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, IN

Select Work Experience

2020 – ongoing
Co-Founder, MAS: Antiracism & DEI Consultancy, Helsinki, FI
2020
Associate Curator, Helsinki International Artist Program (HIAP), Helsinki, FI
2019 – present
Board Member, Kiila ry, Helsinki, FI
2019
Artistic Producer, m-cult Media Culture Centre, Helsinki, FI
2018 – 2020
Artistic Director, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, FI
2018
Guest Lecturer, Aalto University, Helsinki, FI
2011 – 2014
Guest Lecturer, Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, Communication & Media Arts, Mumbai, IN
2014
Head of Post-production, Composite Films, IN
2002 – 2007
Co-founder, Lead Animator and Artist, Mareech Animated Design, Mumbai, IN

Solo Exhibitions

Upcoming
Central Park Archives, produced by m-cult, Maunulatalo, Helsinki, FI
2020
Is there a room with just a colour?, Myymälä2, Helsinki, FI
2017
Limitations of Liability, Mumbai Assembly and Harkat Studios, Mumbai, IN
2016
256 Million Colours of Violence, Third Space, Helsinki, FI
2014
SITE: STAGE: STRUCTURE, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, IN
2012
Of Men and Supermen, India Art Festival, presented by TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2011
The Ballad of The War that Never Was, and other Bastardized Myths, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN

Performance

2020
Narrating WAR, New Performance Festival, Turku, FI
2020
Glitchverse, Souja/Shelter Festival 2020, curated by Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás, Ksenia Yurkova, Anastasia Vepreva, Helsinki (online)
2019
Narrating WAR, Relational Figures, Myymälä2, Helsinki, FI
2019
direct-contact//feedback, w/ Vidha Saumya, Pixelache Festival 2019: Breaking the fifth Wall, Helsinki, FI
2018
Narrating WAR, Experimental Event VI – La Torre de Babel, curated by Anna Jensen and Andrea Coyotzi Borja, Valimo Hall of Palmgren Conservatory, Pori, FI
2018
Narrating WAR, Carincarina, Nova Gorica, SL
2018
Narrating WAR, Performance LAB VII, curated by Vishnu Vardhani Rajan, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, FI
2018
Cyborg Archives: GarbageInGarbageOut, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, IN
2018
Cyborg Archives: Can Archives Speak?, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, IN
2018
Narrating WAR, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, IN
2017
Narrating WAR, Memory of War, curated by Heidi Hänninen, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, FI
2017
Narrating WAR, Clark House, Mumbai, IN
2016
Where does poetry nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Pispala Memorial, Tampere, IN
2016
null.void, Chimurenga Collective – Pan-African Space Station, curated by Ahmed Al-Nawas, Kallio Public Library, Helsinki, IN

Select Group Exhibitions

2021
Time Machine and Utopias: Longing, Living conditions, Homecoming, curated by Hanna Johansson, Ainola Museum, Visavuori Museum, and Tarvaspää Museum, FI
2021
To Err is Human, curated by Anna Ruth, Mänttä Kuvataideviikot, Mänttä, FI
2021
Reciprocities, curated by Christine Langinauer, Vantaa Art Museum ARTSI, Vantaa, FI
2020
Meadow, curated by Taru Elfving, Fiskars Village, FI
2020
A Tapestry of Time, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2019
Making Space, curated by Saloni Doshi, Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2018
No Corners, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2018
Assembly of Access, TIFA, Pune, IN
2017
Partizaning Maunula, Maunulatalo, Maunula, Helsinki, FI
2017
OUT 2, Research Pavilion: The Utopia of Access, Venice Biennale, Venice, IT
2017
Ateria/The Meal, URB 2017 + Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki, FI
2017
IS/NOT: Sculpture for the Post-Truth Era, Aalto University Learning Centre, Helsinki, FI
2016
Immersion 2016, Aalto University, Espoo, FI
2016
Where Does Poetry Nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Galleria Emil, Tampere, FI
2016
Space Invaders IV: Heterotopia, Espoo, FI
2016
SOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, FI
2016
*Whose History is it anyway?, Aalto University, Espoo, FI
2015
Cisspace: Construct(ed.), Otaniemi Recycling Center, Espoo, FI
2014
Infinite, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2013
Small is Beautiful – II, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2013
Beyond the Canvas, ­Curated by Kalpana Shah and Sapna Kar, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2013
Tagore Lost and Found, Curated by Bina Sarkar Ellias, IndiaBulls Art Gallery and Auction House, New Delhi, IN
2013
Equilibrium, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2012
Synergy, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2012
Small is Beautiful, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2010
Three New Voices: Dimensions in Time & Space, Art Heritage, New Delhi, IN
2010
April Salon, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, IN
2010
Evolve, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2009
Gems of India, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2009
India on Canvas, charity auction, New Delhi, IN
2008
The Kohinoor Selection, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2008
Art for Justice and Peace, Sabrang, Mumbai, IN
2008
Art Smart, Mumbai, and Delhi, IN
2007
India on Canvas, charity auction, Mumbai, IN
2007
Celebrating India, Treo Foundation, Delhi-Calcutta-Bangalore-Mumbai-New York

Artist Talks / Conferences / Lectures

2021
Artist Talk: Central Park Archives: Access, commons, and networks of care, moderated by m-cult and invited speaker Annet Dekker, part of Gathering for Rehearsing Hospitalities Spring 2021, Maunulatalo, Helsinki (online)
2021
Artist Talk: Internationalism, Mobility, and Borders,  Hangö Teatrträff, (online)
2020
Artist Talk: Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2 Readings with Annet Dekker, and Susanna Ånäs and Ali Akbar Mehta, Rehearsing Hospitalities, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Helsinki (online)
2020
Panelist: CreaTures (Creative Practices for Transformational Futures), Aalto University, Helsinki (online)
2020
Panelist: New Standards, Stop Hatred Now Festival, UrbanApa, Helsinki (online)
2020
Artist Talk: Towards a New Internet, In conversation with Palash Mukhopadhyay, Myymälä2, Helsinki
2020
Artist Talk: Violence in Finnish Society, In conversation with Arvind Ramachandran, Myymälä2, Helsinki
2020
Artist Talk: Digital Creativity and Entanglement, In conversation with Timo Tuhkanen, Myymälä2, Helsinki
2020
Artist Talk: Is there a room with just a colour? In conversation with Camelo Ramiro, Myymälä2, Helsinki
2019
Panelist: Resistance and Re-imagining Alternatives, Nordic Decolonial Workshop, Center for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), Helsinki
2019
Guest Speaker: Notes for Radical Diversity, Helsinki Art Museum HAM, Helsinki
2018
Guest Speaker: Re:Musing the Museum, Part II, Kiasma International Museum, Helsinki
2018
Guest Speaker: Cyber Archives, Die Schule der Archaeutopie in conversation with Ali Akbar Mehta, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Vienna
2018
Guest Lecturer: Archiving: Histories of the Present, guest lecture, Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki
2018
Artist Talk: Congratulations, the space has been invaded: NOW WHAT?, Space Invaders VI, Helsinki, FI
2018
Guest Artist: A Common Sense Manifesto of Cooking Practices for Artists, Aalto University, Espoo
2017
Panelist: Decolonial Dreaming, Urbanapa 2017, Atenuim Museum, Helsinki
2017
Artist Talk: The Urgency of Asking Questions, in conversation with Kevin Lobo, Piramal Museum, Mumbai
2018
Artist Talk: Memory and the Maximum City, Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai
2018
Guest Lecturer: Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, communication and Media Arts
2014
Artist Talk: FOLKARCHIVE, in conversation with Sumesh Sharma; moderated by Latika Gupta, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad City Museum, Mumbai

Teaching / Lectures

2021
Guest lecturer: Archives as Witness, Archives as knowledge Systems, Darpan 2021, Symbiosis School For Liberal Arts (SSLA) Pune (online)
2020
Guest Lecturer and Mentor: Kuvan Kevät 2020, Exhibition Laboratory, University of Arts Helsinki, FI
2020
Guest lecturer: Archiving & the Curatorial Function, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, (online)
2020
Workshop: Central Park Archives – Workshops on Collective Authorship, M-cult, Maunulatalo, Helsinki
2020
Guest Lecturer: Surrender? Surrender, Exhibition Laboratory, University of the Arts Helsinki, Helsinki, FI
2018
Guest lecturer: ‘Histories of the Present’, Visual Cultures, Curating & Contemporary Art, Aalto University, Helsinki, FI

Select Publications

2021
Essay: Generating (An)Other Economy: Working together at the Museum of Impossible Forms, Impossible Reader: How to Work Together, volume 02, (ed.) Aiava, Emily & Aiava, Raine. (pub.) Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki.
2021
Essay: Museum of Impossible Forms: Voicing the Margins, in Marginaaleista Museoihin. (From Margins to Museums), (eds.) Rastas, Anna & Koivunen, Leila (toim.), (trans.) Nurmenniemi, Ki, Tampere: Vastapaino, FI
2021
Review: A longing for something written in memory, NO NIIN online magazine, Helsinki, FI
2021
Essay: Cultural production and racism: How to challenge racist structures, Muuntautuva rasismi. Kriittisiä näkökulmia rodullistamiseen, valkoisuuteen ja vallan koloniaalisuuteen (Different shapes of racism. Critical perspectives on racialization, whiteness and coloniality of power), (ed) Suvi Keskinen, (pub.) Gaudeamus. ISBN 978-9-5234-5107-0
2020
Essay: The Shape of Museums to Come, The Museum of the Future. 43 New Contributions to the Discussion about the Future of the Museum, (ed) Schnittpunkt and Joachim Baur, (pub.) Transcript. ISBN: 978-3-8394-5270-7
2020
Essay: SAFE{R}: Evolving the Conditions for Collaboration, Third Space, Helsinki, 2020
2020
Text: Who is Welcome? – Thinking Hospitality as Museum of Impossible Forms, Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2, (ed.) Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela, (pub.) Archive Books, Berlin, in collaboration with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Helsinki
2020
Text: A Cyber Archive of Questions, Restricted Fixations, Bengaluru
2020
Ali Akbar Mehta, Walkin the Portal, Curated by Vivek Chockalingam and Marialaura Ghidini, Walkin Studios, Bengaluru
2019
How to be hospitable without being a motel: Thinking Hospitalities, Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 1, (ed.) Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela, (pub.) Archive Books, Berlin, in collaboration with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Helsinki
2019
Atlas of Lost Beliefs (for Insurgents, Citizens, & Untitled Bodies), curatorial text 2019-20, Museum of Impossible Forms
2019
To Not Wait for the Archive: Home and Labour mired in the complications of Invisibalisation, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Journal #5, (ed.) Saara Mahbouba, Paola Jallili and Else Lagerspetz, published by Aalto University, Helsinki
2018
Colours of Violence, AROOP: Totems and Taboos, volume 3, (ed.) Nancy Adajania, published by Raza Foundation, New Delhi
2018
Cyber Archive: Archiving as a sustainable counter-hegemonic practice, Hakara Journal: Form / Play, edition 06, (ed.) Ashutosh Poddar and Noopur Desai, Pune
2018
Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge, Aalto University, Espoo
2018
FOOD and Other Practices at the Arthouse, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Journal #4, (ed.) Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya, Published by Aalto University, Espoo
2017
Locating: The Museum of Impossible Forms, Kone Foundation Boldness Blog, Helsinki
2017
Border Crossing: Reshaping the Agency of Struggle, interview with Ranjit Hoskote, CuMMA Papers publication series, (ed.) Nora Sternfeld, Helsinki
2017
The Photons of Politics: Footnotes for a New History, RAB-RAB Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, issue#4.01, (ed.) Sezgin Boynik, Helsinki
2015
No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist, Essay for Exhibition No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist, Third Space, Helsinki
2014
Site: Stage: Structure, (pub.) StudioVAAK, Mumbai
2011
A body split in two, International Gallerie, Journal of Contemporary art, issue 30, (ed.) Bina Sarkar Ellias, Mumbai

Public projects / Commissions

2015
TRINITY: Godrej Legacy Park Silos, Godrej One, Mumbai, IN

Curatorial Experience

(upcoming)
Exhibition CuratorMuseum of Impossible Forms in Turku, Titanik Art Gallery, Turku, FI
(upcoming)
Seminar: Educate-Agitate-Organise, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, FI
2021
Working group: What Should Art Institutions Do Now?, Culture Lab Europe – Spaces for Solidarity, (online)
2021
Peer Support: Anti-Caste Archive, Party Office, New Delhi, IN
2020
Supporting Curator: In-Between, HIAP Summer Residency 2020, Helsinki Internatonal Artist Programme (HIAP), Helsinki, FI
2019
Programme Facilitator: Network Effects, M-cult, Oodi Library, Helsinki, FI
2019
Event coordinator and Interviewer: Vidisha Fadescha: Party, a tool for Care – curated by Ali Akbar Mehta, part of Today Is Our Tomorrow Festival, organised by PUBLICS, Helsinki, FI
2016
Exhibition Curator:  MATERIAL///IMMATERIAL, A: SPACE, Espoo, FI
2016
Exhibition CuratorSOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, FI

Residencies

2021
Titanik Artist Residency, Turku, FI
2020
Maunula Commons, m-cult, Helsinki, FI
2018
To Participate in the Archive, ARTEL 2018, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, IN
2012
SPACE 118, Mumbai, IN

Grants

2021
Helsinki City Grant, working group Museum of Impossible Forms
2020
Kone Säätiö, COVID grant for organisations, working group Museum of Impossible Forms
2020
Taiteen edistämiskeskus, working grant (1 year)
2020
Taiteen edistämiskeskus, project grant, working group  – Museum of Impossible Forms
2018
Kone Säätiö, operational grant, working group – Museum of Impossible Forms, (2 years)
2018
Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, project grant, working group – Museum of Impossible Forms
2017
Aalto University, project grant, 256 Million Colours of Violence
2016
Kone Säätiö, operational grant, working group – Museum of Impossible Forms, (2 years)

Awards

2020
State Art Prize* awarded to Museum of Impossible Forms, by the Ministry of Art and Culture, FI
2019
Tutkijaliitto-palkinto, awarded to Museum of Impossible Forms, by the Finnish Association of Researchers, FI