SAI blog post cover

Please join us in welcoming the newest Core Member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, South Asia Institute! Core Members are first-voice, community-driven organizations that preserve a specific cultural perspective, experience, and living history through programs, exhibits, or collections work.

South Asia Institute joins an active alliance of 45 other cultural heritage institutions spanning over 25 Chicago neighborhoods and 9 suburbs and representing more than 30 cultures from around the world. Let’s learn more about SAI!

SAI gallery

The main gallery at South Asia Institute. Photo courtesy of South Asia Institute.

South Asia Institute’s History and Mission

SAI’s Mission: South Asia Institute cultivates the art and culture of South Asia and its diaspora through curated exhibitions, innovative programs and educational initiatives. We collaborate locally and globally to engage diverse communities in enriching creative experiences, support artistic production by emerging and established artists and foster cultural appreciation for the South Asian diaspora.

SAI building

SAI grew out of the love of its founders, Shireen & Afzal Ahmad, for collecting South Asian art. After 50+ years of collecting, they had one of the largest collections of South Asian art in America and wanted to share it with the community. They established South Asia Institute in a landmark building in the Motor Row district of the South Loop and lovingly restored it. (pictured at left, photo courtesy of South Asia Institute)

SAI has grown to share not only art, but also music, films, book readings, and all aspects of the culture of South Asia.

current SAI exhibit

The main gallery at South Asia Institute. Photo courtesy of South Asia Institute.

Visit SAI!

Their beautiful space hosts a gallery with rotating exhibitions that you can visit. Through March 5, 2022, the gallery is hosting the exhibition “Ravi Shankar: Ragamala to Rockstar: A Retrospective of The Maestro’s Life in Music.”

You can also check out their schedule of events for ongoing cultural programming!

Upcoming events:

Online Talk: Oliver Craske Discusses “Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar”
Saturday, February 19, 2022
4:00 PM-6:00 PM


Film Screening | Ravi and Anoushka Shankar Live in Bangalore
Saturday, March 5, 2022
4:00 PM-6:00 PM
1925 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60616


We’re so excited to welcome the newest Core Member of the Alliance and looking forward to working with them in the coming years! Check out South Asia Institute’s programming and gallery.

Marie Rowley, Marketing and Communications Manager