About us

We have a total commitment to artists and their creative endeavour, an attitude which leads to a singular relationship developing between each exhibiting artist and the foundation.

The foundation

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is a not-for-profit art institution and registered educational charity that operates purely for the public benefit. Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator Dr Ziba Ardalan, the foundation presents challenging and thought-provoking exhibitions and artistic projects by international contemporary artists who work in a variety of media. Since March 2020, the foundation has repositioned its activities in favour of an international modus operandi, which means organising exhibitions and projects around the world as well as in Great Britain.

Parasol unit remains committed to supporting contemporary artists through exhibitions and producing international artistic projects for the public without the restrictions of a permanent gallery space. Due to the dynamic nature of the organisation together with Director’s own passion and commitment to contemporary art, the foundation will focus on international exhibitions in whatever part of the world the dialogue is needed.

Artists and exhibitions

The London chapter of Parasol unit began in 2004 on Wharf Road in East London. The idea started with Ardalan’s deep enthusiasm and unconditional love for art. In its 18 years of operation, Parasol unit has gained international recognition for its forward-thinking and ground-breaking exhibition programme and introducing a host of British and international artists to a UK and London audience. The foundation has been instrumental in launching the careers of artists such as Rana Begum, Michaël Borremans, Julian Charrière and Yang Fudong and Tschabalala Self and has brought established artists such as Siah Armajani, Martin Puryear, Heidi Bucher and Robert Therrien to further prominence with their first major solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom.


Parasol unit, like publicly funded institutions in London continuously strives to raise funds to cover its running costs and hopes to secure its existence for future generations. The one-time donation by the founder is a reserve that allows the foundation to operate while other funding sources are identified. The reserve currently covers about 60% of the foundation’s operating expenses whereas the remaining 40% are financed through Gift Aid scheme, grants from charitable organisations, and private donations. Thanks to an innovative model between private funding and public support the foundation has come to exist and continues to thrive.

We thank you for your  support.

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is a registered educational charity in England and Wales (registered charity number: 1107425).


Ziba Ardalan
Trustee + Executive Director

Gabriel Caillaux

Lukas Mühlemann

Claudia Steinfels

Berna Tuğlular

Pierre de Weck
Trustee + Chairman