Ala Ebtekar

Ala Ebtekar was born in Berkeley in 1978 and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute in 2002 followed by a Masters of Fine Arts from Stanford University in 2006. He is currently a visiting lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. Through a steady career that has incorporated sculpture, photography and installation, Ala has continually returned to his initial passion of drawing and painting. The artist’s practice is informed by history, Persian mythology, science and philosophy, which he juxtaposes with contemporary and pop- culture elements – the works eventually exhibiting a collision of the past and present in a deconstruction/reconstruction of time and space.

Ala’s work has been widely exhibited internationally. His solo shows include Nowheresville, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2015); Elsewhen, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2012); 1388, The Third Line, Dubai UAE (2009); and Emergence, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California, USA (2006).

His work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition, Katonah Museum of Art, NY, USA (2018); Detritus, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, CA, USA (2017); Mashrabiya: The Art of Looking Back, San Francisco State University, CA, USA (2017); RTL:LTR, Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran  (2017); Misappropriations, Orange County Museum of Art, CA, USA (2015); State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville USA (2014); The Vastness is Bearable, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, California, CA (2014); The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE (2013); Migrating Identities, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, USA (2013); What Time Is It There?, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, USA (2013); The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds after 1989, ZKM – Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany (2011); Iran Inside Out, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, USA (2009). 

In November 2016, Ala launched an unprecedented three-year initiative on Iranian art in the form of a symposium including talks, panels, newly issued art projects and lecture performances. Held at Stanford University, the yearly event investigates the multiple contexts that shift and define changing ideas of Iranian public space.

Ala’s works are part of several notable public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; Berkeley Art Museum, CA, USA; Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, Germany; de Young Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, USA; and Farjam Collection, UAE.

Ala currently lives and works in California, USA.  

Complete Bio (pdf)