Announcing Traces: Bagri Art Trail for Asian Art in London 2021

Press Release

The Bagri Foundation is thrilled to announce its first art trail, Traces, organised on the occasion of Asian Art in London 2021 from 21 October – 12 November 2021.

Three London-based intergenerational contemporary artists are invited to respond to the beauty and history of selected artefacts and antiques shown by three participating galleries.

For Traces – Bagri Art Trail, Yarli Allison, Zarah Hussain, and Keith Khan create original micro-commissions that are shown alongside the fantastic collections of Marchant, Shahnaz and Peter Finer galleries respectively. These encounters have sparked conversations between traditional and contemporary art with the creation of three original works that will be on show for the duration of Asian Art in London, from 21 October to 6 November 2021, and beyond.

Emerging art historians are invited to write an original piece to further explore the relation between the galleries’ collections and the micro-commissions. The writers are selected in collaboration with the MA Modern and Contemporary Asian Art course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.

Weaving a path that links materials such as porcelain, jade, steel, leather, wood, and lacquer to digital and contemporary creations, the Bagri Art Trail explores how the traces of the past embodied by the antiques on show, speak to contemporary artists, and how contemporary artists can reinterpret and learn from them.

Aimed at facilitating new and unexpected encounters of traditional and contemporary Asian art, the Bagri Art Trail invites audiences to engage with and enjoy the dialogue among disciplines, art forms, materials, and histories.

Alessandra Cianetti, Bagri Foundation, Project Manager, says: “We are excited to launch Traces, our first Art Trail as part of Asian Art in London 2021. We strive to create spaces for dialogue among contemporary and traditional art, and were pleased to see the enthusiastic response the trail received by the artists, galleries, and partners involved. We look forward to experiencing this encounter between exquisitely crafted antiques and contemporary art practices and what new work it will generate.” 

Henry Howard-Sneyd, Chair of Asian Art in London, says: “Asian Art in London is delighted to collaborate with the Bagri Foundation in creating the Bagri Art Trail initiative. This partnership strongly supports both of our mission statements by weaving traditional Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern culture with contemporary arts and ways of thinking.” 

Katie Hill, Program Director, MA Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, says: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Bagri Foundation’s Asian Art in London curatorial project that engages the skills of our MA alumni in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art. This fantastic project matches leading contemporary Asian artists with selected dealers, bridging the classical with the contemporary in imaginative ways. We very much look forward to working together with the Bagri Foundation and Asian Art in London.”



For more information about Traces – Bagri Art Trail visit the Asian Art in London website.

For questions directed at the Bagri Foundation /

For information about Asian Art in London 2021:

Sophie Kempson / +44 7388 863976 /

Traces – Bagri Art Trail is organised in partnership with Asian Art in London. 

Writers selected in collaboration with Sotheby’s Institute of Art. 


Keith Khan was born in London, of Trinidadian Indian heritage. Keith ́s works stem from Notting Hill Carnival, where he worked throughout the 1980s. His costumes and floats are finely crafted with plumes and sequins set on large-scale structures, referencing Caribbean folklore and black history. This hybrid mixture, elements from Indian, African and Native Caribbean cultures, creates his visual language. This approach, alongside a strong use of colour, music and people have shaped his extensive career. Keith set up a company, called Moti Roti, and worked independently as a creative director and lead artist on numerous commissions, such as The Queen ́s commonwealth Jubilee celebration. His career spans detailed design through to digital strategies. Keith’s first show, in 1987, won a “Time Out Dance and Performance award ̈ and since then he continued innovating with communities, and form. He has won an ̈Obie”, for a show made in New York, ( ̈Alladeen ̈, a collaboration with The Builder ́s Association) and was the Head of Culture for the London Olympic Games. Keith’s latest works revert to his background, explored via digital means, drawings and prints. His archive, of drawings, documents and objects were acquired by London ́s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014.

Yarli Allison is a Hong Kong-Canadian born, UK/Paris-based artist with a multidisciplinary approach that traverses sculpture, performance, digital, film, drawing and installation. Often interacting with personas or creatures, these imagined worlds consist of her invented survival tactics and coping mechanisms. Her works have been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals. Recent and upcoming shows (2021-2022) include Decriminalize Futures, Institute of Contemporary Arts: ICA, London; 55 Squared, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong. Yarli is the recipient of the Hong Kong Art Council Project Grant and Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grant (2020). Yarli graduated in 2017 with an MFA in Sculpture from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK.

Zarah Hussain has spent many years perfecting the traditional techniques for creating mathematically precise, geometric art and then adapting them to produce unique works with a contemporary resonance across a range of disciplines. Her work crosses many forms including digital art, painting and sculpture. Recently she has exhibited at the Peabody Essex Museum in the USA with a solo show on the theme of the Breath. This exhibition included new paintings and a specially commissioned generative animation. Hussain has created animated installations for the Barbican, Sharjah Art Museum and Cartwright Hall Art Gallery amongst others. She has recently designed a print for the V&A and participated in a group show at the Aga Khan Center, London. She is currently working on a UK wide solo touring show opening at Rugby Art Gallery in September 2021. Hussain has completed many Public Art Commissions, including a room in the Royal London Hospital and an outdoor Public Art Project in Barking and Dagenham funded by the Mayor of London. She has received the Mosaic Award for Art and Culture presented by HRH the Prince of Wales and been nominated for the Jameel Prize at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her work is held in national and international collections.

Marchant Gallery, founded in 1925 by Samuel Sydney Marchant (1897-1975), are one of the world’s most respected dealers in Chinese and Oriental art. Since 1952, Marchant have been at the same location in Kensington, London, W8. The gallery is a specially-designed building containing two-floors of exhibition space. The specialties of the company are Imperial Chinese Ming and Qing porcelains, jades, cloisonné, pottery and works of art. Emphasis is placed on rarity, quality and provenance. Marchant pride themselves on fine pieces that have passed through their hands, many now in major museums and collections worldwide. Services that can be undertaken are the buying and selling of pieces and collections, commission bidding in auctions around the world and specialist advice.

Peter Finer Gallery was established in 1967 and are today specialists in antique Arms and Armour from cultures worldwide, Bronze Age to the 19th century, with a London gallery in the historic Duke Street, St James’s. We have a hard-earned reputation for handling the rarest and highest-quality antique Arms and Armour and have helped to build superb private and institutional collections. We maintain excellent relationships with museums across the globe, and are honoured to count The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and The Royal Armouries of the United Kingdom among our clients. We have a discerning eye for quality and condition, and work with leading independent scholars and curators in the field to comprehensively research the works of art we handle. Armed with this expertise, we guarantee the authenticity of the objects we sell, whilst conducting business with discretion. We strive to establish long-term relationships, built on trust, with our clients.

Shahnaz Gallery is a second generation gallery and successor to Bashir Mohamed Ltd. Bashir Mohamed founded the Islamic department at Spink & Sons, becoming head and buyer for the department. In 1979 inspired by his previous role for the Colnaghi Gallery where he was advising on Islamic Art for Jacob Rothschild, he left to start his first gallery on Old Bond Street following on with two more spaces on Davies Street and Broadbent Street. Over time he acquired major works of Islamic and Asian Art, and has played a significant role in establishing important collections, aiding private collectors and major museums globally. During this period, he also devoted himself as the curator and buyer to the Furusiyya Art Foundation (Vaduz). This resulted in Bashir Mohamed making one of the finest collections of

Islamic Art in general, and in particular one of the finest collections of early Islamic Arms and Armour in the world, part of which was displayed in a major exhibition, at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris and published in the book, ‘The Art of the Muslim Knight.’ Today the gallery is run by Shahnaz, his daughter, who is dedicated to the promotion of the art of the Islamic and Asian world, continuing to show exceptional and important works of art. The gallery prides itself on its reputation for knowledge and expertise in the field, continuing to loan pieces to global museums for exhibitions, as well as advising, and buying for private collectors.

The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity, inspired by unique and unexpected ideas that weave the traditional and the contemporary of Asian culture. The Foundation, with its roots in education, is driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, and aims for each project to challenge, engage and inspire. Through a diverse programme of film, visual arts, music, dance, literature and talks, the Bagri Foundation gives artists and experts from across Asia and the diaspora, wider visibility on the global stage. Recent projects include Tantra: enlightenment to revolution at the British Museum; Anicka Yi at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia; Asia Forum for the Contemporary Art of Global Asias and Nikhil Chopra at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Asian Art in London was founded in 1998 and celebrates London as an international centre for expertise and excellence in Asian art. Its annual programme focuses on a central event taking place each autumn in and around Central London. Its participants, are made up of London’s premier Indian & Islamic art galleries and the leading East Asian art galleries, together with leading Asian art dealers based outside London and abroad. Also among its participants are the three main central London auction houses, and additional specialist auction houses from across the UK and internationally. This year has seen the addition of an overseas participant category, for those who cannot travel to exhibit in Central London, to strengthen Asian Art in London’s international presence. In 2020, Asian Art in London expanded to include an Indian & Islamic focus for the first half of the event and concentrates on East Asian art during the second half. This coincides with the major art auctions of Indian & Islamic and East Asian art in London. Asian Art in London is overseen by a board selected from the participants, promoting the year-long programme as a whole and London as a global centre of commerce and expertise in Asian art.

Sotheby’s auction house was founded in 1744 when entrepreneur, occasional publisher, and successful businessman Samuel Baker held his first auction. Today at Sotheby’s Institute, we emphasize a keen understanding of an object’s value and history, a spirit of inquiry and scholarship, business acumen, and innovation that build upon these foundational values and continue to leverage the access of the world’s largest art business. The Institute offers educational programs for professionals, pre-college audiences, and graduate students seeking expertise in art business and an understanding of the multi-billion global art economy. Our course offerings cover everything from art history to key business skills and are taught at our campuses located in the world’s art capitals of London and New York, as well as online.Courses at Sotheby’s Institute are structured with the guiding principle that education is gained in the classroom, but equally i mportant is hands-on experience and situational context. Institute faculty are experts and leaders in their fields, bringing a wealth of practical knowledge from their professional experiences as well as a solid academic grounding to all students.

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