Gallery Girl meets Anahita Sadighi

Tehran-born Anahita Sadighi opened her eponymous Berlin gallery Anahita Arts of Asia in 2015. Her debut space exhibits antique arts from the Middle East and East Asia, with a focus on ceramics, woodblock prints, carpets and textiles. Three years later, a contemporary space – Anahita Contemporary – opened as a sister gallery to her first space, providing an exhibition and selling space for contemporary art from Asia and the Middle East. On the occasion of Anahita Contemporary’s first anniversary, Gallery Girl spoke with Anahita about the past year.

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Images courtesy Anahita. Photography by Alessia Cocca, Fashion & Styling by Henriette von Grünberg

Gallery Girl: What made you start Anahita Contemporary?

Anahita: My first gallery (Anahita Arts of Asia) is dedicated to antique Asian & Oriental Art. With the founding of my second gallery, I have extended my field of business to the sector of Contemporary Art. Both galleries are a unique combination of Ancient and Contemporary Art in Germany. The focus is on creating an intercultural dialogue from artists of different generations.

The presentation of and preoccupation with art is often limited mainly to one area or field. I, however, believe that it is time to open existing boundaries and paradigms to offer a deeper and more open approach to art which, for example, demonstrates the interconnection between Antique and Contemporary Art and between East and West. Pursuing both directions is also a reflection of my interests and beliefs.

 

GG: How has the first year been?

A: Very exciting and exhausting (laughing). The new gallery is like an additional full-time job. It has definitely created a new dynamic in my life through which I am able to explore new perspectives and to meet inspiring people. In the first year I already had the chance to work with a lot of great artists, including Wenxin Zheng, Ulrich Reimkasten, Michaela Holzheimer and of course my father Hamid S. Neiriz. Through these dedicated projects I have learned a lot but I have also realized how much I still need to pick up (smiling). Every new collaboration and exhibition is a new adventure. It has been an intense and important year for me, plus I turned 30 (laughing). I am looking forward to the years coming ahead. It’s an exciting time to run a gallery.

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Images courtesy Anahita. Photography by Alessia Cocca, Fashion & Styling by Henriette von Grünberg

GG: How are you celebrating?         

A: With a fantastic exhibition presenting my favourite Canadian Artist – Daniel Butcher. He really is something. I am excited to share his fascinating works with the audience at our opening “Abstraction Villes et Visages” during Gallery Weekend Berlin! Last weekend my boyfriend and I treated ourselves with a trip to Vienna – one of my favourite European cities. And soon after the busy weekend ahead the celebrations for 1st of May will begin. A good day to party in Berlin.

 

GG: What plans do you have for the future?

A: To work less maybe (not really)?! Ideally opening more galleries in other cities! But I would need the right partners for that. That’s one goal.

Then I would like to find time to look for the right opportunites to curate exhibitions in other institutions and galleries abroad. For example at The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. An exhibition on female Iranian artists. That would be a dream come true.

Finally I would love to collaborate on a magazine dedicated to women in the creative world, a little bit away from the eurocentric perspective, celebrating women in other cultural spheres. Looking at the Middle East, South Asia & America and of course Africa. A magazine that celebrates female empowerment worldwide with a focus on the arts.

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Images courtesy Anahita. Photography by Alessia Cocca, Fashion & Styling by Henriette von Grünberg

 GG: How do you find being a female gallery director in Berlin?

A: I see it as a great privilege to be able to run my own gallery as a woman. The key to success is determination and confidence in what you do. Let’s not kid ourselves, the art industry is still dominated by men – worldwide. But Berlin allows me to follow my vision. It’s a great city to be an entrepreneur. This shouldn’t be taken for granted.

What we often lack among women is that we don’t stick together, especially in the working environment. Women could become more powerful in the art world if we would support each other more and strengthen each other positively by drawing on the determining power of our solidarity and sisterhood spirit.

 

GG: What is the response like to non-Western art in Berlin?

A: The response is quite positive. People feel drawn to artefacts and artists from different cultural realms and centuries. And Berlin – worldwide celebrated as a multicultural hub – needs an art scene for non-European and non-western art and culture. We need more diversity and accessibility in the art landscape. This will contribute to a better representation and understanding of different countries and generations. There is still a long way to go but I am proud to be working on it.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She is the founder of Gallery Girl - a London-based curatorial platform and website dedicated to modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Her work is primarily focused on supporting emerging female artists from the Middle East and the Caucasus. She has written for Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, Suitcase and Vice Arabia among other publications. Her exhibitions in London and Armenia have been featured in Vogue Arabia, The Art Newspaper, The Art Gorgeous and numerous other news outlets. Gallery Girl has also spoken in the UK, UAE and Belgium about the contemporary art scene in the MENA region, and is planning further events in London and Amman.

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