ACC remembers 1967 grantee Ebrahim Alkazi (1925-2020), theater director and art collector whose prolific work and vision left an indelible impact across the Indian and international arts scenes. Through art and cultural exchange, artists have potential to advance understanding, dialogue, and respect across cultures, creating a ripple effect on communities worldwide. Ebrahim Alkazi did not create ripples; he made waves.
Credited with revolutionizing theater in India, Mr. Alkazi was the longest-serving Director of the National School of Drama & Asian Theatre Institute (1962-1977). From classical Sanskrit drama and traditional forms to contemporary Indian drama and Western classics, Mr. Alkazi’s work bridged many languages and forms. Like his work, he defied singular definition. He was a director and theater artist; founder of Art Heritage Gallery, the Alkazi Collection of Photography and The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts; and a teacher, mentor, and patron of the arts.
Ebrahim Alkazi received an ACC Fellowship in 1967 to attend the XII International Theatre Institute World Congress in New York. Fifty-two years later, Dr. Beth Citron (ACC 2019)* received an ACC Fellowship to research Mr. Alkazi’s work in India.
“As Ebrahim Alkazi is known,” she writes, “justifiably for his role in revolutionizing theater in India, and for his pioneering collection and foundation centered on South Asian photography, his critical and transformative contributions to the field of modern Indian art have received less focus. Mr. Alkazi was one of India’s first ‘curators’—at a time when the word was not yet used—and paved the path for critically engaged exhibition making in India. Without a doubt, he shaped the field that I am now part of. Through ACC, it has been an immense privilege to study his work as a catalytic exhibition maker and try to do justice to his achievements in the field of art history.”
*Beth Citron is the Artistic Director of terrain.art, a new platform for modern and contemporary South Asian art launching fall 2020.