A symposium 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 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 though these frames have often been fashioned in colonial times, they continue to shape the reception of the art from South Asia in the contemporary moment. The symposium seeks to explore the legacies of such framings, and also takes the exhibition to be a site of transaction and transformation—and potentially disturbance and challenge—to the colonialist narrative of South Asian art.

This is the first event of London, Asia, a collaborative project between the Paul Mellon Centre and Asia Art Archive. The 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 also reflects on how the growing field of modern and contemporary art history in Asia intersects with, and challenges, existing histories of British art. Instead of proposing a comparative framework, the project encourages 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, it asks broader methodological questions about the ways in which the art histories of Britain and Asia have been, and are being, written, circulated, and negotiated.

Three conference venues:

1. Congress Centre, Invision Suite, 28 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3LS

2. The Paul Mellon Centre, 16 Bedford Square, WC1B 3JA

3. One Alfred Place, 1 Alfred Place, London, WC1E 7EB

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
 

The symposium will be followed by a public panel discussion on Sat 2 July 2016 at Tate Modern to coincide with the ‘Bhupen Khakhar’ exhibition. 

Paul Mellon Centre is an educational charity committed to supporting original research into the history of British art and architecture of all periods. It is the sister institution to the Yale Center for British Art, with which it collaborates closely, and is part of Yale University.