SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture

The collaboration between Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) and Asia Art Archive in India emerges from AAA’s ongoing engagement with histories of art writing, and its initiatives to map, compile, translate, and republish texts from various contexts. This grant is in line with SSAF’s commitment to work with cross-disciplinary initiatives addressing the oppressed and the marginalised, and alternative and heterodox practices in the arts and intellectual work.

The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation was established in 2016 with the mandate to carry forward the legacy of scholar and photographer Umrao Singh Sher-Gil (1870–1954); his daughter and pioneer in modern Indian art, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–41), and her nephew and niece Vivan Sundaram and Navina Sundaram.

SSAF seeks to enable conjunctions of artistic and cultural practice that deal with historical memory and build expectations for the future. It commits itself to advancing creative independence for art that is founded on freedom of expression, and that is secular and internationalist.

The Research Grant

The SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture has the following goals:

  • Support research on critical histories of art writing, art making, and visual culture in twentieth- and twenty-first-century India (and other countries of South Asia), with a focus on their manifestations in print (e.g., books, journals, magazines, and newspapers).
  • Open research avenues into dalit, feminist, peasant, working class, and other political histories—viewed as a constituent part of wider discursive fields and specific regional milieus—and also the politics of image-making and circulation.
  • Help develop tools and methods for critical art historical analyses of regional discourses and debates in politics and culture, preferably in (though not limited to) the regional languages.

Researchers are encouraged to propose projects that open new areas of study and frame rigorous questions of them; offer close readings of image and text; map circuits of dissemination; and suggest new connections between existing intellectual histories, the visual arts, and social, political, and cultural movements.

How to Apply

The next open call for the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture is expected in November 2018.

The Research Grantees


Koonal Duggal

At the Intersection of Narratology and Visuality: A Case Study of Periodicals from the Communist Movement in Punjab (1960s–1990s)

Koonal Duggal’s project proposes to study communist, in particular Naxalite, periodicals from the late 1960s until the movement’s aftermath in the mid-1990s in Punjab. With a focus on the intersection of politics and aesthetics, the magazines this research examines include Rohley Baan (Raging Arrows), Siar (Furrow), and Surkh Rekha (Red Line), all of which featured visuals across several idioms, both on their covers and within their pages.