Panelists: Dr Elizabeth W Giorgis, Marie Hélène Pereira, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Dr Iftikhar Dadi, and Inti Guerrero
Moderator: John Tain

This panel, featuring faculty from the Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia (MAHASSA) programme and other invited guests, explores how working with art can expand and undo inherited understandings of geography and borders. Drawing on their own experiences with projects in a variety of formats—including exhibitions and programmes for museums, biennials, and galleries—and working from vantage points in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, the speakers discuss their curatorial research, and ideas and intersections with decolonial methodologies.

Free and open to the public with registration.

Image: Elizabeth H. Wold, <i>Erasen Be Ras</i> exhibition, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Elizabeth H. Wold, Erasen Be Ras exhibition, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Dr Elizabeth W Giorgis is Associate Professor of Theory and Criticism at the College of Performing and Visual Art at Addis Ababa University. She previously served as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art at Addis Ababa University. She is the editor and author of several publications, including Perspectives on Ethiopian Modernity and Modernism, a special issue in Northeast African Studies (Michigan State University), Charting Ethiopian Modernity and Modernism, a special issue on Ethiopian art and literature in Callaloo, Journal of the African Diaspora (Johns Hopkins University Press), and Gebre Kristos Desta: The Painter-Poet. She has curated several exhibitions including Time-Sensitive Activity, an exhibition of Olafur Eliasson’s work (2015). Giorgis received her PhD in History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University and previously studied Museum Studies at New York University. Her book project on Ethiopian modern art history, Modernist Art in Ethiopia, is forthcoming in 2019 from Ohio University Press. As an expert in African modern art, Giorgis addresses our project’s intellectual scope across those regions.

Marie Hélène Pereira is Director of Programmes at RAW Material Company, where she has organised a dozen of exhibitions and related discursive programs including RAW’s participation in We face forward: Art from West Africa Today at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; ICI Curatorial Hub at TEMP, New York; the 9th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai; and Art Dubai’s Marker (2013). Pereira is curator of Battling to Normalize Freedom at Clarkhouse Initiative in Mumbai, India (2017). She also co-curated Scattered Seeds in Cali, Colombia (2015–17) and Canine Wisdom for the Barking Dog - The Dog Done Gone Deaf. Exploring The Sonic Cosmologies of Halim El-Dabh at the 13th edition of The Dakar Biennale (2018). Her areas of interest are politics of identity and migration history. 

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 in Bangladesh and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, leading the critically acclaimed 2014, 2016, and 2018 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 where new work and exhibitions are born in Bangladesh. She has realised significant projects with artists such as Raqib Shaw (co-curated with Maria Balshaw), Tino Sehgal, Lynda Benglis, Raqs Media Collective, Shahzia Sikander, Shilpa Gupta, Haroon Mirza, and many others through this unique platform. In addition to her exhibitions-making practice, Campbell is responsible for developing the Samdani Art Foundation collection, and drives its international collaborations ahead of the opening of the foundation’s permanent home, Srihatta – the Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park, in Sylhet in late 2019.

Dr Iftikhar Dadi is Associate Professor in Cornell University’s Department of History of Art, Co-director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities, and Director of 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). Other publications include the edited monograph Anwar Jalal Shemza (2015), the co-edited catalogue 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 a member of the editorial board of Art Journal (2007–11). He is adviser to the Hong Kong–based research organisation Asia Art Archive.

Inti Guerrero is Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects, Manila, and the Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art at Tate, London. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Associate Artistic Director and Curator of TEOR/éTica, the longest-standing non-profit art space in Latin America founded in 1999 in San José, Costa Rica. He has curated and co-curated exhibitions and symposia in museums and institutions globally, including the 38th EVA International-Ireland's Biennial, Limerick. He studied General History and Art & Architecture History and Theory at Los Andes University in Colombia and University of São Paulo in Brazil. His writing has been published in Afterall, Ramona, The Exhibitionist, ArtNexus, Manifesta Journal, Metropolis M, and Art Asia Pacific. In 2017, Guerrero organised the exhibition Udlot Udlot based on the work of Filipino visionary composer José Maceda (1917–2004) at Asia Art Archive.

John Tain is Head of Research at Asia Art Archive.


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