The London, Asia project has offered two research awards in partnership with Asia Art Archive.
The first was awarded to Dr Sarena Abdullah, senior lecturer at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Abdullah’s project explores the artistic relationship between Malaysia and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. She describes her project as questioning the “nationalistic rendition of Malaysian art history which always has Kuala Lumpur as its centre.” As a result, she notes, exchanges between Malaysian artists and centres such as London during the 1950s and 1960s have not been examined in the context of Malaysian history. The impact of the West in particular, especially Britain, was important in the early formation of modern art institutions in Malaysia. This research is published in Issue 13 of British Art Studies.
The second London, Asia research award holder is Ming Tiampo, a full professor in art history, co-director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis, and director of the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University, Ottawa. Her research focuses on transnational networks and artistic production in the postwar period, with a theoretical commitment to rethinking discourses of global modernism. Her research is being developed with the Slade School of Fine Art.
Tiampo is conducting research on how the Slade School of Fine Art, which welcomed students from all over the world since its inception in 1871, functioned as a crucible of encounter and a site for articulating Global Asias. Tiampo’s research will determine which students shared classrooms, investigate the lectures that they attended, and theorize the pedagogical implications of their lectures. One case study revolves around the investigation of which students attended E.H. Gombrich’s lectures, and the other stories of art that might be told if the intellectual lives of artists from Asia and the Asian diaspora who took his classes, such as Anwar Jalal Shemza and K.G. Subramanyan, are researched in depth. Oral history interviews and archival research will be conducted on the students in question, in order to create a larger picture of the role that the Slade played in their artistic careers, paying particular attention to the ways in which peer groups created discursive cultures for themselves in that environment.