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Special Collections

AAA’s Special Collections comprise groups of material gathered from donated personal collections and focused research projects with a particular focus on primary source material and rare documents. In most cases, AAA keeps only a digital copy, which it makes available from the Collection Online or through computers on-site at AAA. Rare tangible material is housed in a fireproof room with temperature and humidity control and can be easily accessed by making a request to library staff.

  • Wahab Jaffer Archive

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    The Wahab Jaffer Archive offers a unique entry into an ecosystem centred on a community of artists, gallerists, writers, and collectors in Karachi, Pakistan, and extending to the wider South Asian region from the 1970s to mid-2000s.

  • Rasheed Araeen Archive

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    Rasheed Araeen’s personal archive contains documentation, correspondence, and press clippings of the influential exhibition project ‘The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-war Britain’ (London, 1989), curated by artist/activist/writer/curator Rasheed Araeen (b. 1935). The exhibition was seen as an important intervention in the largely Euro-American canon; and it continues to inform recent exhibition projects, for example Tate’s ‘Migrations: Journeys into British Art’ (London, 2012).

  • The Baroda Archives

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    The Baroda Archives project is an in-depth excavation of documents that sheds light on the artists’ art practices, written articulations of their ideas, contributions to art education and crafting of curricula, and their wider influence in the field of art. The 40,000+ digitised documents in this project focus on, but are not limited to, the decades from 1950s to 1990s primarily due to their physical vulnerability. For more details of the project, please click here.

  • Gulammohammed Sheikh Archive

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    Gulammohammed Sheikh (b. 1937) is a renowned painter, poet and critic based in Baroda. Sheikh taught in the Faculty of Fine Arts for almost three decades, and his prolific career spans across various practices that include publishing and curating. The Gulammohammed Sheikh Archive includes not only a rich visual documentation of his artistic practice but also his work as a teacher, a curator, a poet, an art historian, and an activist. From documents of exhibitions that he curated and the renowned Vrishchik Magazine that he published, to scrapbooks and photographs of the vibrant art scene he was part of...

  • Jyoti Bhatt Archive

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    Jyoti Bhatt (b. 1934) is a renowned painter, printmaker and photographer based in Baroda. He was among the first batch of students to have enrolled in the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda when it was established in 1950, and subsequently taught there as a professor. The Jyoti Bhatt Archive is a vast collection of visual materials that include his artwork images along with rare photographs of the Living Traditions of India that he documented across the country for over three decades since 1967.

  • K.G. Subramanyan Archive

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    K.G. Subramanyan (b. 1924) is a renowned artist and writer based in Baroda. Having studied in Santiniketan in the 1940s, he moved to Baroda in 1951 and was instrumental in shaping the newly emerging Faculty of Fine Arts alongside his colleague artists Markand Bhatt, N.S. Bendre, and Sankho Chaudhury. The K.G. Subramanyan Archive covers a rich visual documentation of his artistic practice including his outdoor murals, terracottas, toys, and paintings. This archive also covers a wide collection of over 150 of his essay, lecture manuscripts, and letters...

  • Ratan Parimoo Archive

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    Ratan Parimoo (b. 1936) is an eminent art historian and painter based in Baroda with several publications and seminars to his credit. Parimoo taught art history in the Faculty of Fine Arts since 1959 and was Head of the Department of Art History & Aesthetics for 25 years, being instrumental in establishing the Department of Art History & Aesthetics Archive in the college in 1966. The Ratan Parimoo Archive covers a wide panorama of his research work and documents pertaining to the curriculum building of art history along with documents of the Baroda Group of Artists...

  • Another Life: The Digitised Personal Archive of Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram

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    The first art archive in India to be digitised by AAA, the project brings to the public the broad range of material collected by Kapur and Sundaram since the late 1960s. Originally established as a personal archive, the collection not only documents the artwork and writings produced and published thus far during Kapur and Sundaram's prolific careers, but also documents events in India's art community over the last 50 years, and includes exhibition catalogues, newspaper clippings, and artists' slides, some of which are entering the public domain for the first time...

  • Materials from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Greater China Research Grant

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    The annual Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Greater China Research Programme supports practitioners to utilise Asia Art Archive’s extensive collection of primary source documents and develop new, in-depth historical research projects on topics relating to contemporary Chinese art. The inaugural grant was introduced in 2013.

  • A History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979–2006

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    'A History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979–2006' stems from Shanghai-based curator Biljana Ciric's research for her exhibition 'History in the Making: Shanghai 1979–2009' (2009). It traces the practice of exhibition making in the contemporary art scene in Shanghai from 1979 to 2006 with a specific focus on artist-organised exhibitions. Asia Art Archive has been collaborating with Ciric since 2012 to digitise, organise, and further enrich the collection of research. Materials include documentation of 38 exhibitions and interviews of 23 related artists who have been active in Shanghai for the last 30 years.

  • Cities on the Move Archive

    ‘Cities on the Move’ (1997–99) is regarded as a significant exhibition that responded to the intersection of East and South East Asia’s city cultures and the region’s urbanisation in the late 20th century. AAA has worked with Hou Hanru to organise and digitise the archive of the exhibition since 2014, which includes research materials gathered during the preparation of the exhibition, ephemera, photo documentation, journalistic reports and reviews, and other primary source material around the different iterations of the exhibition.

  • Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990

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    In 2006, Asia Art Archive began a focused archiving project called 'Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990'. This project aimed at developing a comprehensive collection of primary research materials including books, periodicals, newspapers, exhibition brochures, invitations, video recordings, correspondence, and other relevant documents...

  • China Avantgarde Exhibition Archive

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    'China Avantgarde' (1993-94) is considered a seminal exhibition held outside mainland China that significantly impacted international reception and Western knowledge of Chinese contemporary art. The exhibition first opened at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World), Berlin, and toured to 4 locations in Europe. Since 2011 Asia Art Archive has continued to work with co-curator Andreas Schmid, who retains the archive on the exhibition, to organise and digitise the collection of materials—comprising of research records, artist files, and documents on the exhibition’s preparation for its different venues.

  • Archive was launched in 1997 as a non-profit web magazine ‘designed to provide collectors, historians, curators, dealers and critics outside China with an in-depth look at some of the art making history in China today’...

  • Fei Dawei Archive

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    The digitisation of Fei Dawei’s personal archive began in 2009. Fei Dawei was a member of the organization committee of the exhibition ‘China/Avant-Garde’ in 1989. That same year, he went to France to participate in an international symposium in conjunction with ‘Magiciens de la Terre’. Fei was the founding director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing and has continued to work as an independent curator and art critic after leaving UCCA. Fei Dawei’s Archive is part of AAA’s China 1980s research project, ‘Materials of the Future’. The archive consists of more than 1,800 items and is constantly added to and updated.

  • Francesca Dal Lago Archive

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    Francesca Dal Lago is a scholar specialising in modern and contemporary Chinese art. In the summer of 2011, AAA researcher Fiona He worked with Dal Lago at her home in Vicenza, coming up with a set of materials that forms the core part of her personal archive, currently deposited in AAA. The archive contains materials about contemporary Chinese art from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, with particular emphasis on the early 1990s. It includes documentation on more than 100 artists and approximately 50 events and exhibitions.

  • Hans van Dijk Archive

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    Hans van Dijk 戴漢志 (1946-2002) was a researcher, curator, and dealer for Chinese contemporary art active in Beijing for most of the 1990s. After his untimely death in 2002, his extensive archive has remained in Beijing and is being processed by AAA. The archive includes materials about over 480 Chinese artists, documents on NAAC and CAAW activities, more than 50 titles of art journals and magazines, over 1,300 art books and catalogues, and a large amount of invitation cards and articles on art—collectively depicting Beijing’s 1990s art scene for future researchers to interpret.

  • Kong Chang’an Archive

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    Kong Chang’an (b. 1953) is an artist and curator who actively promoted Chinese avant-garde artists in Europe and US through publications and exhibitions during the 1980s through early 1990s. This archive consists of materials related to Kong’s curatorial works, art writings and artistic practice, as well as research materials about over Chinese art and artists, with a focus on the period of the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • Lu Peng Archive

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    The digitization of Lu Peng’s personal archive began in 2006. Lu Peng is an art critic, curator and art historian who is now an associate professor at the School of Arts and Humanities, China Academy of Fine Arts. The Lu Peng Archive consists of over 2,000 scanned and annotated items including paper documents, photographs, slides and audio-visual materials.

  • Mao Xuhui Archive

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    Kunming-based painter Mao Xuhui is regarded as a leader of the avant-garde art community in southwest China. Since 2004, AAA has been working with Mao to scan and catalogue his comprehensive personal archive documenting his artistic career and activities over past three decades. A selection of these documents, dating from 1985 to 1987 is presented here...

  • Wang Youshen Archive

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    Wang Youshen has been constantly sharing with AAA records of his artistic career since the 1980s, and also materials about Chinese contemporary art that he collected in the last twenty years. Wang’s collection of documentary materials, a selection of which is presented here, offers a glimpse into the early artistic activities in Beijing—experimental photography, film and exhibitions of new media.

  • Zhang Peili Archive

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    Zhang Peili is a pioneer of video and new media art in China. His work 30x30 from 1988 is generally considered to be the first video work in the history of contemporary Chinese art, and his experiments with text-based conceptual art were some of the most radical made in China during the 1980s...

  • Zhang Xiaogang Archive

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    In 2007, the Archive worked with Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, best known for his ‘Bloodline: Big Family’ series of paintings, to digitise his personal archive. As part of the in-depth research project ‘Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990’, AAA collaborated with Zhang’s studio in Beijing to digitise and catalogue his personal archive which dates from the 1970s to today...

  • Zheng Shengtian Archive

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    The Zheng Shengtian Archive consists of over 1,500 scanned and annotated items, including paper documents, photographs, slides and audio-visual materials. In addition to the digitization and annotation of these materials, AAA has also collected supplementary materials and conducted a detailed video interview with Zheng in order to present a more comprehensive view into his career and generate more related research. Together these materials form a rich collection of primary and supplementary documents about one of the most important educators and advocates of experimental art from China.

  • Wu Shanzhuan Personal Archive

    This collection includes digitised images of exhibition proposals, writings, manuscripts, photos, slides and documents from mid-1980s to 2002, plus artifacts deposited by the artist Wu Shanzhuan in 2003. This personal archive reveals his diverse art creations including painting, installation, performance, photography and drawing in the last 20 years.

  • Ha Bik Chuen Archive

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    The Ha Bik Chuen Archive presents one window into Hong Kong’s art history: through exhibition history, circulation of artistic practices and reading materials, and international exchange. Primarily known as a sculptor and printmaker, artist Ha Bik Chuen (1925–2009) had parallel practices of photographing exhibitions he attended, and collecting materials including illustrated magazines and artist portraits, in part for the construction of book collages. Ha’s entire collection has been stored in his Hong Kong studio since his passing.

  • Hong Kong Art History Research Project

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    Hong Kong Art History Research Project is a collaborative project between Asia Art Archive and Hong Kong Museum of Art. It marks the beginning of a long-term endeavour to develop a publicly available resource platform to support art historical research on recent art in Hong Kong. Building on previous and existing research efforts, this project aims to develop a framework for a richer contextual picture of Hong Kong's art ecology in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Oil Street

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    The Oil Street special collection consists of documents on and of the artist village that existed roughly from 1998 to 2000 in the former Government Supplies Department complex on Oil Street, North Point, Hong Kong. These materials include a donation from 2006, and those generously shared by practitioners that AAA researchers approached in 2012.

  • Kwok Mangho Frog King Archive

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    Kwok Mangho, Hong Kong-based artist better known as Frog King, has been producing artwork across multiple experimental media while documenting his work, daily life, and events in the field for more than 40 years. The Kwok Mangho Frog King Archive includes over 1,000 slides and photographs digitised and annotated by AAA: a selection of documentation that surveys Frog King’s artistic career from the 1960s to early 2000s.

  • Nigel Cameron Archive — Nigel Cameron’s Writings on Art

    Nigel Cameron is a historian, curator and art critic based in Hong Kong. As a contributor to the South China Morning Post and Orientations magazine, Cameron wrote extensively on Asian art and culture from the 1970s to the 1990s. In 2005, Cameron donated his personal collection of 1655 typescripts and clippings, dating from 1972 to 1994...

  • The Ray Langenbach Archive of Performance Art

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    A joint effort of AAA and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the project aims to re-master Malaysian-American artist Ray Langenbach's private collection of video documentation (originally in DV and Hi-8 format) spanning over 20 years of performance art in Southeast Asia from 1988 to the present.

  • The Chabet Archive: Covering Fifty Years of the Artist’s Materials

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    Initiated in 2008, this project compiled and digitised primary materials on the renowned Filipino artist, teacher, and curator Roberto Chabet (1937-2013), as one of multiple entry points into the complicated discourse of modernity and contemporaneity in the Philippines. The project was launched in July 2009...

  • Salon Natasha Archive

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    Founded in 1990, Salon Natasha is the home, studio, artist meeting and exhibition space created by the late Hanoi artist Vu Dan Tan (1946-2009) and his Russian born wife Natalia (Natasha) Kraevskaia (b.1952). Located in just 60 square meters of space at 30 Hang Bong Street, in the heart of the Vietnamese capital, for its first decade, Salon Natasha operated as the only venue for artistic experimentation in a city largely controlled by State-run cultural organisations.

  • John Clark Archive

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    Clark’s archive comprises of over 280 interviews of artists and art professionals from across Asia spanning the past 27 years, presenting a set of art historical narratives constructed through oral histories and conversations. It is accompanied by ten volumes of interview transcripts, including Clark’s research notes on chronologies and bibliographies of individual artists. An in-depth interview with Clark was conducted by AAA to further contextualise his research practice.