Afropolitan: Contemporary African Art as Paradox : Art historian and curator Salah M. Hassan (Cornell University) delivers a keynote on the contemporary African Art and its global significance. Respondents, art historian Simon Soon (University of Malaya) and historian Sanjukta Sunderason (University of Leiden), engage with Hassan in a discussion on parallel developments that emerged in South and Southeast Asia since the 1980s.


Collectives From The 1950s To The Present: By reviewing four case studies: Pakistan in the 1950s, multiple sites in the 1960s, Bangladesh in the 1980s, and present-day Senegal, panellists will examine how artists fashioned modes of resistance and solidarity through new forms of collectivity. Here, formal and informal artist groups created frameworks for negotiating between international, national, and local agents. Panellists include MAHASSA participants Melissa Carlson, Samina Iqbal, Dana Liljegren, and artist and art historian Mustafa Zaman.


Art and Hunger: This panel by art historian Elizabeth Giorgis (Addis Ababa University) and historian Sanjukta Sunderason (University of Leiden) explores the politics of famine in the context of anti-colonial and anti-authoritarian struggles in South Asia and North Africa, and how competing narratives of nationalism were articulated through social realism and abstraction in response to Bengal (1943), Vietnamese (1945), and Ethiopian famines (1984–85).


Modern Architecture: Sean Anderson, Farhan Karim, Simon Soon, Nurur Rahman Khan. This panel by architectural historians Sean Anderson (Museum

of Modern Art), Farhan Karim (University of Kansas), architecture historian and architect Nurur Rahman Khan (Muzharul Islam Archives) and art historian Simon Soon (University of Malaya) examines modernisms as they played out in the built environment of the Global South. Panellists will discuss how innovations in domestic and urban life engendered hybrid building typologies and visual motifs that simultaneously resonated with universal modernist tropes, while incorporating local vernacular traditions.


Rise of the Art School: Speakers: Ming Tiampo, Professor, Carleton University, Canada; Sneha Ragavan, Researcher, Asia Art Archive, India; Chuong-Dai Vo, Researcher, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Shaela Sharmin, Director, Institute of Fine Arts, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Moderator: John Tain, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong


Links to other related panels:


Reflections on Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia: In the first of a series of conversations, this panel gathered four of the MAHASSA faculty members, Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Dr. 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 projec

Imagining a new post-imperial and de-colonialized modern world...


The projects of 21 emerging scholars were workshoped and presented in Hong Kong (August 2019) and Dhaka (February 2020) as part of Connecting Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia (MAHASSA).  This Dhaka Art Summit Programme was a collaboration with the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM) at Cornell University, and the Asia Art Archive with support from the Getty Foundation’s ‘Connecting Art Histories’ initiative.


MAHASSA was shaped by shared institutional and intellectual developments that are closely related based on the fact that Africa, South and Southeast Asia are marked by similar experiences during the twentieth century. These include the rise of modern art practices associated with the withdrawal of colonialism and the consolidation of nationalism; the founding of institutions such as the art school and the museum; and increasing exchange with international metropolitan centres via travel and the movement of ideas through publications and exhibitions. Viewing this in terms of statist and national art histories obscures their analysis in a comparative framework. MAHASSA emphasises a connected and contextualized approach to better understand both common developments as well as divergent trajectories. Under the leadership of Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, art historical panel discussions and symposia took a thematic approach to draw comparisons across the rich modern art histories of these regions across the nine days of DAS 2020 with established and 21 emerging scholars in the field. Learn more about the initiative here.


Above: Chittaprosad (b. 2015, Naihati, India; d. 1978, Kolkata, Bangladesh), Panel (Ink Drawing) for India Immortal, April 2945.



Programme materials are available to all at no cost.  Check back, we will add more material as they become available.

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