Reflections on Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia

Thursday, June 25, 2020
Online via Zoom
Documentation by Asia Art Archive in America 

The Dhaka Art SummitInstitute for Comparative Modernities(ICM) at Cornell University, and Asia Art Archive, with support from the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative in 2019 launched  a new research project entitled Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia (MAHASSA). The project brought together leading international faculty and emerging scholars to investigate parallel and intersecting developments in the cultural histories of modern Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. 

In the first of a series of conversations, this panel gathered four of the MAHASSA faculty members, Dr. Iftikhar DadiDiana Campbell BetancourtDr. Elizabeth W Giorgis, and John Tain, who provided a brief overview and shared their thoughts on the impetus behind and outcome so far of this evolving project. 

Iftikhar Dadi is associate professor in Cornell University’s Department of History of Art and director the South Asia Program. He teaches and researches modern and contemporary art from a global and transnational perspective, with emphasis on questions of methodology and intellectual history. His writings have focused on modernism and contemporary practice of Asia, the Middle East and their diasporas. Another research interest examines the film, media, and popular cultures of South Asia, seeking to understand how emergent publics forge new avenues for civic participation. Publications include Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (2010), the edited monograph Anwar Jalal Shemza (2015), the co-edited catalog Lines of Control (2012), and the co-edited reader Unpacking Europe (2001). His essays have appeared in numerous journals, edited volumes, and online platforms. Dadi currently serves on the editorial and advisory boards of Archives of Asian Art and Bio-Scope: South Asian Screen Studies, and was member of the editorial board of Art Journal (2007-11). He is an advisor to Asia Art Archive.

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a Princeton educated American curator who has been working in and building art institutions in South and Southeast Asia since 2010, primarily in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Since 2013, she has served as the Founding Artistic Director of Dhaka-based Samdani Art Foundation, Bangladesh and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, leading the critically acclaimed 2014-2020 editions. Campbell has developed the Dhaka Art Summit into a leading research and exhibitions platform for art from South Asia, bringing together artists, architects, curators, and writers from across South Asia through a largely commission based model. In addition to her exhibitions making practice, Campbell is responsible for developing the Samdani Art Foundation collection and drives its international collaborations ahead of opening the foundation’s permanent home, Srihatta, the Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park in Sylhet, Bangladesh. She served as the Founding Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects in the Philippines from 2016-2018 and the curator of Frieze Projects for the 2018 and 2019 editions of Frieze London and Chairs the Board of the Mumbai Art Room in India.

Elizabeth W. Giorgis is Associate Professor of Art History, Criticism and Theory in the College of Performing and Visual Art and the Center for African and Asian Studies at Addis Ababa University. She is also the Director of the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center at Addis Ababa University. She served as the Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art and as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University. She is the editor and author of several publications. She has curated several exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center and has also participated in several international conferences and public lectures, more recently at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna. She also served as convener for the first African Humanities Initiative called Africa as Concept: Decolonization, Emancipation and Freedom that was organized by the Consortium of the Humanities, Centers and Institutes. Her book, Modernist Art in Ethiopia, that is published by Ohio University Press was released in February 2019.  It is the first comprehensive monographic study of Ethiopian visual modernism within a broader social and intellectual history and is recently shortlisted for the African Studies Association UK Fage and Oliver Prize for original and outstanding scholarship on Africa.

John Tain is Head of Research at Asia Art Archive, where he leads a team of researchers based in Hong Kong, New Delhi, and Shanghai, with projects spanning all of Asia. In addition to exhibitions at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa (2018) and Art Basel Hong Kong (2018, 2019), he co-organized a symposium on art periodicals that took place during the Sharjah Art Foundation’s Focal Point art book fair (2018).  His writings on Rirkrit Tiravanija, Wu Tsang, Charles Gaines and Kara Walker, among others, have appeared in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Flash Art, Art Review Asia, and in various exhibition catalogues, and he is an editor of the Afterall Exhibition Histories series. He was previously a curator for modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Image: MAHASSA participants at the Mausoleum of three leaders in Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 2020. Image courtesy of John Tain.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

ALL KEYWORDS

20th century, abstract art, Abstraction, Access, acrylic, acrylic painting, Afghanistan, Africa, AIDS, Alternative Space, American History, american revolution, Animation, Anthology, anthropology, Architecture, Archive, art, Art Administration, art and society, art criticism, art history, art writing, Artificial Intelligence, artist book, Artist Books, artist's book, Artists Books, artist’s book, asia, Asia Art Archive, Asia-Pacific Triennale, Asian American, asian american art history, asian politics, Auction, Auctions, Australia, Automation, Autonomy, avant-garde, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Biennial, Big Tail Elephant, Bookbinding, Books, Brooklyn, Brunei, Buddhism, Burma, Butoh, Cambodia, Canton Express, care-giving, cartography, Catalogue, Censorship, Central Asia, ceramic art, ceramics, Chance, charcoal, Chengdu, China, Chinatown, chinese, chinese artist, Chinese-American, cities, civil rights movement, collage, Collecting, collection, Collections, Collective, Collectivity, colonialism, commercial art, Communism, community, Community Art, Composition, conceptual art, conceptual photography, Conservation, contemporary, contemporary art, culinary arts, cultural criticism, cultural heritage, cultural identity, cultural nationalism, Cultural Revolution, cultural studies, cultural theory, culture, Curating, Cutlural Revolution, cynical realism, Dance, Design, desire, developing countries, Dhaka Art Summit, Diaspora, digital, Digital Archives, digital art, digital poetics, digital print, Displacement, DNA, Documentary, Documentation, Domestic Labor, Drawing, east asia, Economics, Education, Emigration & Immigration Studies, encyclopedia, environment crisis, EPOXY, essays, etching, ethnic group, ethnic violence, ethnicity, ethnogenesis, ethnography, exhibition, Exhibition History, Experimental Music, family, Family Archives, Family Images, Feminism, Festivals, fiber, fibre art, Fiction, Field-recording, Film, Fluxus, Folklore, Form, Foundations, Fukuoka Triennial, Gender, Genetics, Geography, ghosts, global capitalism, globalization, Godzilla, Graphic Design, Graphic Novel, group exhibition, Guangzhou, Gutai, Gwangju Biennale, heneng, histories, history, Hong Kong, hong kong S.A.R., humanities, Identity, identity politics, imagined realities, Imaging, Imitation, immigrant, in situ, independent art space, Independent Publisher, Index, India, indian, indigenism, Indonesia, Infrastructure, ink, ink and colors, ink painting, ink-painting, Installation, installation art, Institution, interactive art, Internet, internet art, Iran, iranian, Island, Japan, Japanese American, jiang tiefeng, keywords, Khmer Rouge, Korea, korean, Labor, Land, Land Art, Language, laos, Leadership Camp, Lecture, Lhasa, Li Zhensheng, Libraries, Library, literature, liu shaohui, Live Art, Live Performance, Locality, Madagascar, Malaysia, Manananggal, Map, mapping, maps, media, Memory, Mexico, Middle East, Migrant Workers, Migration, Miniature Painting, Minimalism, minjung movement, Minority Demographic Studies, mixed media, mixed-media, MOCA, Model Opera, modern art, Modernism, modernity, mongolia, mourning, Moving Image, multi-media art, multiculturalism, multimedia, multimedia art, Murals, Museum studies, Museums, Music, muslim, Myanmar, Myanmar (Burma), mythology, nationalism, Nations, Nepal, net art, New Enlightenment Movement, new media, New Media Art, New York City, North Africa, nostalgia, oil, oil painting, Oral Histories, Organization, orientalism, painting, paintings, Pakistan, Pakistani, participatory, pattern, Pearl River Delta, peasant painting, Pedagogy, people, Perennial exhibition, Performa, Performance, performance art, Philippines, photo installation, photograph, photographs, Photography, Pidouhui, political pop, politics, Pond Society, Pop Culture, Pop Music, Portraiture, post colonialism, post-modernism, postcolonialism, postmodernism, Preservation, print, printmaking, prints, Propaganda, Protest, Public Art, Public Space, Publication, Publishing, race, Realism, religion, Research, Residencies, Revolution, Saudi Arabia, Sci-Fi, Science, Sculpture, Secrets, Shamanism, Singapore, Site Specific, slavery, Small Press, social histories, social realism, social sciences, social stratification, social theory, socialism, Socialist Realism, socially engaged art, sociology, sociopolitical, solo exhibition, Song Ling, Sonic Art, sound, Sound Art, sound installation, South Asia, South East Asia, south korea, Southeast Asia, spirituality, Sri Lanka, stereotypes, structural film, Sungari Auctions, Surveillance, System, Taiwan, technology, technology and spectatorship, Television, text, textile, Thailand, thangka, The, the Middle East, The Philippines, Theater, Tibet, Tibetan art, Time, Time-Based Media, Tomato Grey, Tradition, traditional art, trama, Translation, triennial, Tunisia, turkish, uncertainty, Under the Influence, United States, united states of america, Unity, urban planning, Urbanism, USA, Utopian, Uyghur, Vampires, Video, Video Art, Video Game, Vietnam, Violence, Virtual Reality, visual arts, visual culture, VR, War, water color, Water Rights, watercolor, watercolour painting, woman artist, women, women artist, women artists, wood, woodcut, woodcuts, Workshop, writing, WWII, Xinjiang, yunnan school of painting, Zhang Peili, Zhejiang Academy, Zine

ARTISTS, CRITICS, CURATORS, AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS

Aisha Khalid, Aki Onda, Aki Sasamoto, Alexander Keefe, Alexandra Chang, Alexandra Munroe, Alf Chang, Ali Van, Amy Lien, Amy WOOD, Annysa Ng, Anthony Tino, Anthony Yung, Arin Rungjang, Ashley Billingsley, Ashok Sukumaran, Bahar Behbahani, Bahar Behbani, Bani Abadi, Bani Abidi, Barbara London, Belinda Q. He, Benjamin Moskowitz, Beth Citron, Betsy Damon, Bing Lee, Birgit DONKER, Boon Hui Tan, Boris Groys, Brinda Kumar, Cai Guoqiang, CAMP, Cao Fei, Casey Tang, Chang Chao Tang, Chang Yuchen, Chen Chieh-jen, Chen Tong, Chen Wei-ching, Chen Xiaomei, Chihoi, China, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Wu, Christoph NOE, Christopher Ho, Christopher K. Ho, Christopher Phillips, Chương-Đài Võ, Cici Wu, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Cosmin Costinas, David Smith, Desire Machine Collective, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Dinh Q Le, dmp editions, Dooeun Choi, DREAMER FTY, Ei Arakawa, Eleanor Heartney, Elizabeth W. Giorgis, Enzo Camacho, EPOXY Art Group, Erin Gleeson, Eugene Wang, Fang Lu, Farah Wardani, Fei Dawei, FENG Yuan(馮原), Franklin Furnace, Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez, Fully Booked, Furen Dai, fwf, Gaku Tsutaja, Gao Shiming, Gianni Jetzer, Glenn Phillips, Go Hirasawa, Hajra Waheed, Hammad Nasar, Heman Chong, Herb Tam, Hiroko Tasaka, Hitomi Iwasaki, Ho Tzu Nyen, Hồng-Ân Trương, Howie Chen, Hsu Chia-Wei, Huang Chien-Hung, Huang Hua-Chen, Huang Po-chih, HUANG Xiaopeng, I-Hua Lee, Iftikhar Dadi, Il Lee, Ingrid Chu, Interference Archive, Jaeyong Park, Jaishri Abichandani, Jane DeBevoise, Jean Shin, Jean-Hubert Martin, Jen Hoyer, Jen Liu, Jennifer Davis, Jewyo Rhii, Joan Lebold Cohen, Joanne, John Pirozzi, John Tain, José Maceda, Julian Ross, Jun Yang, June Yap, Kaho Albert Yu, kate-hers RHEE, Katherine Grube, Kim Yong-Ik, Kimia Maleki, Kit Yi Wong, Koki Tanaka, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Laurel Ptak, Lê Thuận Uyên, Lee Kit, Lee Mingwei, Lee Weng Choy, Lesley Ma, Levi Easterbrooks, Li Ming, Li Ran, Li Shi, Li Xiaofei, Liang Jianhua, Lin Yilin, Linda Huang, LinDa Saphan, Lisa Ross, Liu Ding, Liu Shiyuan, Louiza Ho, Lynn Gumpert, Lyno Vuth, Maika Pollack, Maline Yim, Mao Chenyu, MAP Office, Margaret Lee, Margo Machida, Mariam Ghani, Martha Wilson, Marvin Taylor, media art, Meghan Forbes, Meiya Cheng, Mel Bochner, Miao Ying, Michelle Wong, Michelle Yun, Midori Yoshimoto, Ming Fay, Minoru Yoshida, Miwako Tezuka, Moe Satt, Morgan Wong, Mukaddas Mijit, Murtaza Vali, Museum of Unknown, Nadim Abbas, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nate Hun, new media, Nico Baumbach, Nikhil Raunak, Nonny de la Peña, Nora Taylor, nos:books, Ocean Leung, Onejoon Che, Ou Ning, Pad.ma, Pak Sheung Chuen, Pan An-yi, Park Chankyong, Passenger Pigeon Press, Patty Chang, photography, Pi Li, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Prem Krishnamurthy, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhijie, Rabbya Naseer, Rania Ho, Raqs Media Collective, Rebecca Karl, Reiko Tomii, Richard Vine, Rina Banerjee, Risha Lee, Rob Smith, Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise, Ruijun Shen, Ryan Lee Wong, Saadia Toor, Sabih Mohd Ahmed, Sadya Mizan, Sam Hart, Samita Sinha, Samsom Young, Samson Young, Sareth Svay, Sean Anderson, Sen Uesaki, Shaina Anand, Shanta Rao, Sharmini Pereira, Shauba Chang, Shen Xin, Shiraga Kazuo, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Simon Leung (梁碩恩), Simon Wu, Sming Sming Books, Sohl Lee, Son Ni, Song Dong, Sopheap Pich, Stephanie Comilang, Stephanie H. Tung, Stephen Teiser, Su Hui-Yu, Su Yu-Hsien, Sung Hwan Kim, Sunghee Lee, Svetlana Kharchenkova, Tabaimo, Takahiko Iimura, Takako Tanabe, Takeshi Ikeda, Tammy Nguyen, Tang Kwok Hin, Taro Hanaga, Teresa Kwong, The Dunhuang Foundation, The Otolith Group, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Tiffany Chung, Tishan Hsu, Tobias Madison, Tom Looser, Trần Minh Đức, Tsherin Sherpa, Uli Sigg, Umber Majeed, video art, Việt Lê, Vivian Sming, Wang Gongyi, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jing, Wang Wei, Wang Xu, Waterfall, William LIM, Work on Work, Wu Shanzhuan, Xiaoyu Weng, Xie Xiaoze, Xin Wang, Xu Bing, Xu Tan, YANG Jiechang, Yang Wang, Yin Xiuzhen, Ying Kwok, Yoon Hwan Bae, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Yu Cheng-Ta, Yung MA, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Peili, Zheng Shengtian, Zhenzhen Qi, Zhou Tao, Ziying Duan, Zoe Butt