Research seminars - Patterns of Dissent: Contemporaneity in South Asian Art

Curating South Asian Art

Tuesday, 19 March 2013
18.00, Research Forum South Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN, London

Bose KrishnamachariArtist Bose Krishnamachari, Co-curator of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012

Speaker(s): Zehra Jumabhoy (The Courtauld Institute of Art); Alnoor Mitha (Director of Asian Art Triennial); Manchester): Gemma Sharpe (Curator, VASL Artists’ Collective)
Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by: Emily Crane and Zehra Jumabhoy with Professor Deborah Swallow (Director, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

This forum examines the multiple curatorial platforms through which contemporary South Asian art is displayed, interpreted and critiqued in the West. How do curatorial decisions – made in the context of group exhibitions, residency programmes, public commissions or city-wide art events – generate ways of seeing and appreciating art from the Subcontinent and its diaspora? Following a decade of initiatives and funding to promote so-called ‘under-represented’ art from South Asia, what are the current and future issues at stake?

The Panel will analyse the ways in which dialogues about contemporary South Asian art are constructed within Western institutions – especially in the UK. It will also debate whether the presentations of the same differ within South Asia and its museums. If so, what does this mean for 'curatorship'? Is there such a category as 'South Asian art' in the first place? Alnoor will share his wealth of experience curating art from South Asia for prestigious residencies, exhibitions and triennials in the Midlands and the north of England; Gemma will talk about coordinating contemporary art programmes both in London, for the Triangle Network, and in Pakistan, for the VASL Artists' Collective. Zehra, whose Phd research investigates the relevance of postcolonial theory to contemporary Indian art, will critique the recent spate of ‘survey shows’ in Europe and America.


  • Alnoor Mitha (Director of Asian Art Triennial, Manchester): Multiple Perspectives: Contemporary Asian Visual Cultures

  • Gemma Sharpe (Curator, VASL Artists’ Collective): Curating or not?

  • Zehra Jumabhoy (PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art): Surveying the Terrain: Blockbusters of Contemporary Indian Art

Chairs: Emily Crane (PhD Candidate, The Sainsbury Institute for Art) and Dr Wenny Teo (Lecturer, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

The papers will be followed by Q&A and an informal reception.

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