Melike Kara

(b. 1985 in Bensberg, Germany) lives and works in Cologne, Germany.

Melike Kara's practice encompasses a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, and photography. She is known for addressing issues of displacement, marginalization, and exclusion, focusing on making unheard voices heard and empowered. Kara draws inspiration from Kurdish tapestries and uses them as a starting point for her gestural abstract paintings that reinterpret her own cultural heritage. Her process of adaptation shifts the narrative away from dominant stories of oppression and instead creates spaces to celebrate the beauty of everyday cultural life and its history, including traditions, festivals, and rituals of the Kurdish diaspora.

Her work has been exhibited internationally including the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen; the Kunsthalle Zürich; the Kunstverein Düsseldorf; the Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle; the Philara Foundation, Düsseldorf; the Frac des pays de la Loire, Nantes; the Mead Gallery | Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry; the Neue Galerie Gladbeck; the Ludwig Forum Aachen; the Kölnischer Kunstverein; the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; the Kunstverein Göttingen; the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; the Yuz Museum, Shanghai and the Dortmunder Kunstverein in Dortmund. She participated in the 58th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, curated by Sohrab Mohebbi.

Gallery exhibitions

Melike Kara, where we meet at Jan Kaps, Cologne
where we meet
04 Jun – 22 Aug 2020
Jan Kaps, Cologne
Melike Kara, Speaking in Tongues at Jan Kaps, Cologne
Speaking in Tongues
14 Dec 18 – 10 Feb 2019
Jan Kaps, Cologne

Institutional exhibitions

Melike Kara, Emine's Garden at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen
Emine's Garden
08 Jul – 15 Oct 2023
Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen
Melike Kara, tij at Art Basel Parcours
12 Jun – 18 Jun 2023
Art Basel Parcours
Melike Kara, Brave New World at Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle
Brave New World
28 Jan – 11 Jun 2023
Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle
Melike Kara, 58th Carnegie International at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
58th Carnegie International
24 Sep 22 – 02 Apr 2023
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Melike Kara, landing softly at Neue Galerie Gladbeck, Gladbeck
landing softly
04 Nov 22 – 08 Jan 2023
Neue Galerie Gladbeck, Gladbeck
Melike Kara, Nothing is Yours. Everything is You at Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
Nothing is Yours. Everything is You
13 Nov – 05 Dec 2021
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
Melike Kara, Incorporea 04, CURA. at Basement Roma, Rome
Incorporea 04, CURA.
27 May – 15 Jul 2021
Basement Roma, Rome
Melike Kara, Risquons-Tout at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
12 Sep 20 – 10 Jan 2021
Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Melike Kara, No Friends but the Mountains at Kunstverein Göttingen, Göttingen
No Friends but the Mountains
18 Jan – 23 Feb 2020
Kunstverein Göttingen, Göttingen
Melike Kara, new work at Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
new work
26 May – 25 Aug 2019
Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
Melike Kara, BAMBOO BAR, AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE at Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund
01 Dec 18 – 24 Feb 2019
Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund
Melike Kara, A Taste of Parsley at Yuz Museum, Shanghai
A Taste of Parsley
07 Jul – 09 Sep 2018
Yuz Museum, Shanghai



Lives and works in Cologne 1985 Born in Bensberg, Germany

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023 Emine's Garden, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen tij, Parcours Art Basel, Basel

2022 as above so below, Arcadia Missa, London Landing softly, Neue Galerie Gladbeck, Gladbeck

2021 Nothing Is Yours, Everything Is You, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne How she shapes us, LC Queisser, Tbilisi, Georgia

2020 B.LA Art Foundation, Vienna Zonta Art Award, Kunstraum Fuhrwerkswaage, Sürth where we meet, Jan Kaps, Cologne No Friends but the Mountains, Kunstverein Göttingen

2019 Gowend Garden, Salon 94, New York My Beloved Wild Valley, Arcadia Missa, London new work, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam

2018 Speaking in Tongues, Jan Kaps, Cologne A Taste of Parsley, Yuz Museum, Shanghai

2017 Köpek, Peres Projects, Berlin

2016 Honey: Bread & Butter (with Jessica Gispert), Komplot, Brussels In Your Presence, Peres Projects, Berlin

2015 Lunch, Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt a. M. Flying Dinner, Open Forum, Berlin

2014 Real Sorbet, Ortlo, Leipzig

2013 Das kleine Schwarze, Boutique, Cologne

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 Brave New World: 20 Painters for the 21st Century, Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle I've only got eyes for you, Philara Foundation, Dusseldorf Monotypes, Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich Calling, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf The Reason for Painting, Mead Gallery, Coventry Tsinamdzgvrishvili 49 / Mazniashvili 10, LC Queisser, Tiflis the the yellow light at 6pm - Remembering. envisioning, sensing landscape, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin Next Door, Yuz Project Space of Art, Shanghai

2022 Is it morning for you yet?, 58th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh Trilogie de cendres (v.3), Frac des pays de la Loire, Nantes Visions or Waking Dreams, Kunstverein Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen Traverser les silences, Editions Dilecta, Paris

2021 Sweet Lies. Fiktionen der Zugehörigkeit, Ludwig Forum Aachen, Aachen The Dreamers, 58th October Salon, Belgrade Biennial, Belgrade Incorporea 04, CURA., Basement Roma, Rome

2020 Risquons-Tout, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels love your symptom, but not too much, blank projects, Cape Town

2019 Solar Anus, Parisian Laundry, Montreal

2018 BAMBOO BAR, AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE, Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund The Same As Ever, But More So (curated by Miriam Bettin), Braunsfelder, Cologne Inaugural Show, LC QUEISSER, Tbilisi Nothing Will Be The Same As Before, Tanya Leighton, Berlin

2017 (X) A Fantasy, curated by Sandra Pusterhofer, David Roberts Art Foundation, London MIDTOWN, Salon 94 and Maccarone Gallery, Lever House, New York White Columns Benefit Exhibition and Auction, White Columns, New York Monday is a Day Between Sunday and Tuesday, curated by Lisa Offermann, Tanya Leighton, Berlin

2016 Melike Kara, Talisa Lallai, Lindsay Lawson, curated by Maria Chiara Valacchi, Studiolo, Milan Wild Style: Exhibition of Figurative Art, Peres Projects, Berlin In Wonderland, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin FACE TO FACE, curated by Eugenio Viola, Palazzo Fruscione, Salerno SURRREAL, König Gallery, Berlin Folly, Emalin, Dunmore Pineapple, Airth, Falkirk The Snoring Princess, Kunstgruppe, Cologne Lanzarote, Union Pacific, London

2015 copy g_ods (with Yves Scherer & Julia Scher), Drei, Cologne The State of Having Left, curated by Lisa Offermann and Pauline Seguin, Leipzig

2014 kunst lmage, Pourya, Düsseldorf NOWHERE, Bar Babette, Berlin L'Aventura, A+B Contemporary Art, Brescia Ifinito, Kunstverein Essen, Totale, Essen Shortcuts, Hallmackenreuther, Cologne

2013 Body Light, Venus & Apollo by Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf Dark(traces), Hamburger Filmfestival, Hamburg Fragile Islands, Parkhaus, Düsseldorf Zyklus, Studio Roh, Düsseldorf Bal Aksin, Maybachpoint, Cologne Ein drittel weiß hören, KIT, Düsseldorf Der stille Grund, Gagarin, Düsseldorf Here is always somewhere else, Castle Oud Rekem, Rekem