• 30 June to 1 July 2016
  • Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Asia Art Archive, in collaboration with Tate Modern

This symposium proposes that exhibitions provide challenging and provocative sites through which to think about artistic exchanges and the two-way traffic between Britain and South Asia. It interrogates the lenses through which artistic production in South Asia have been framed in Britain, and argues that these frames have often been fashioned in colonial times, but continue to shape the reception of the art of South Asia in the contemporary moment. We seek to explore the legacies of such framings, but also take the exhibition to be a site of transaction and transformation, and potentially disturbance and challenge, to the colonialist narrative of and for the art of South Asia.

This is the first event of London, Asia, a collaborative project organised by the Paul Mellon Centre and Asia Art Archive. This project posits London as a key, yet under-explored, site in the construction of art historical narratives in Asia, and examines its influence through the vehicles of exhibitions, patronage, art writing and art education. London, Asia will also reflect on the ways in which the growing field of modern and contemporary art history in Asia intersects with, and challenges, existing histories of British art. We are not proposing a comparative framework, but rather encouraging new perspectives on the entanglements, historic and contemporary, between London and Asia. As well as looking at examples of particular exhibitions, events, institutions, and individuals, this project will ask broader methodological questions about the ways in which the art histories of Britain and Asia have been, and are being, written, circulated, and negotiated.

Conference convenors:
Sonal Khullar,
Associate Professor, History of Art, University of Washington
Hammad Nasar,
Head of Research & Programmes, Asia Art Archive
Devika Singh,
Affiliated Scholar, University of Cambridge
Sarah Victoria Turner,
Deputy Director for Research, Paul Mellon Centre

2 July 2016

The symposium will be followed by a public panel discussion on Saturday 2 July 2016 at Tate Modern, 'Bhupen Khakhar: Truth is Beauty'. If you would like to attend this event you must book tickets separately through the Tate website.

Recorded Proceedings

Panel one: Curatorial Panel

Deepak Ananth; Iwona Blazwick; David Elliott; Geeta Kapur; Sharmini Pereira - moderated by Hammad Nasar

Panel two: Crafting Practice

Devika Singh (chair), Susan Bean, Sria Chatterjee, Sabih Ahmed (response)

Panel three: Institutional Histories

Sonal Khullar (chair), Holly Shaffer, Lotte Hoek and Sanjukta Sunderason, Nima Poovaya-Smith (response)

Panel four: Discussion panel: Writing about exhibitions

Emilia Terracciano, Zehra Jumabhoy and Shezad Dawood – moderated by Lucy Steeds

Panel five: Competing modernities

Sonal Khullar (chair), Brinda Kumar, Hilary Floe, Daniel Rycroft (response)

Panel six: Exhibition circuits/ Networks of display between South Asian & Britain

Sarah Victoria Turner (chair), Naiza Khan and Karin Zitzewitz, Eva Bentcheva, Alnoor Mitha (response)

Discussion panel: Researching the Exhibition: Experience and event

Saloni Mathur, Carmen Julia and Sarah Turner - moderated by Claire Wintle

Panel seven: Other stories

David Dibosa (chair), Alice Correia, Shanay Jhaveri, Leon Wainwright (response)

Panel eight: Plenary panel

Discussion with Devika Singh, Hammad Nasar, Sonal Khullar, Sarah Turner and Nada Raza