- 24 July 2017
Hammad Nasar will co-lead the London, Asia project with the Paul Mellon Centre’s Deputy Director for Research Sarah Victoria Turner. He will help shape a diverse range of programmes and research initiatives (including awards, displays, and publications) to explore the ways in which the growing field of modern and contemporary art history in Asia intersects with, and challenges, existing histories of British art.
Hammad is a curator and writer, and was Head of Research and Programmes (2012-2016) at Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong , where among other projects he initiated the collaborative London, Asia project with the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC). He earlier co-founded (with Anita Dawood) the non-profit arts organisation Green Cardamom (2004-2012). His most recent exhibition, Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play, is the UAE’s national pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), and is accompanied by a book-length publication.
Dr Sarena Abdullah, Senior Lecturer at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is the inaugural holder of the London, Asia Research Award. Selected through a competitive application process, the award holder will carry out research at AAA in Hong Kong and at the PMC in London and other archives and libraries in the UK.
Sarena’s project will explore 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.
Sarena’s research will examine how the London-Kuala Lumpur links formed, evolved, and were later supported in the postcolonial context of Malaya. She will explore how the knowledge of modern art and the transfer of cultural ideas can be reconstructed through the interrelated networking of artists and art educators, between the colonial centre and its periphery and vice versa, from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s. This research will involve an investigation of early art educators and a few Malaysian artists who attained their formal art education in Britain. A second part of this project will focus on the various international exhibitions hosted by the Malaysia National Visual Arts Gallery from the late 1950s to late 1970s, such as the exhibitions organized by the Commonwealth Institute, London.
Sarena will present the findings of her research sponsored by the London, Asia Research Award through talks and events in London and Hong Kong.
London, Asia Public Lecture Course “South Asia, Britain: Entangled Histories” announced for the autumn term
This free course will run every Thursday for five weeks from 28 September to 26 October 2017. Enrolment opens on 7 August 2017.
The course will take a long view of the cultural relationships between Britain and South Asia, covering topics from the East India Company to contemporary art practices by artists and curators. It is convened by Hammad Nasar and Sarah Victoria Turner and will feature guest lecturers.