2024 Association for Art History Fellows

We are delighted to announce our 2024 Association for Art History Fellows. This initiative, now in its fifth year, seeks to recognise and honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to the broad field of art history.

The Association for Art History Fellows for 2023 are Rasheed Araeen, Gus Casely-Hayford, and Partha Mitter:

Rasheed Araeen is a London-based artist, activist, writer, editor and curator. In 1964, he moved to the United Kingdom from Pakistan, where he had initially trained as a civil engineer. Araeen is recognized as the father of minimalist sculpture in 1960s Britain. His work in performance, photography, painting, and sculpture throughout the 1970s to 1990s challenged Eurocentricsm within the British art establishment and championed the role of minority artists, especially those of Asia, African and Caribbean decent. In addition to his artistic practice, he took on activist roles with organisations such as the Black Panthers and Artists for Democracy, and founded the critical journals Black Phoenix, Third Text and Third Text Asia. Araeen organised the seminal 1989 exhibition, The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, which was held at Southbank Centre, London. Author of numerous essays and journals, he has written Art Beyond Art: Ecoaesthetics – A Manifesto for the 21st Century (Third Text Publications, London, 2010) and the autobiographical Making Myself Visible (Kala Press, London, 1984).

Gus Casely-Hayford is a curator and cultural historian. He is Professor by Practice at SOAS and Founding Director of V&A East, presently under construction. He was Director of the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art. Casely-Hayford has been a constant champion for the arts. He presented two series of The Lost Kingdoms of Africa for the BBC (and wrote the companion book) as well as two series of Tate Britain: Great Art Walks for Sky. His TED talk on Islamic culture has been viewed more than a million times. As former Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England and Ex-Director of the Institute of International Contemporary Art, he has offered leadership to both large and medium scale organizations. He has lectured widely on art and culture, including periods at Sotheby’s Institute, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck, City University, University of Westminster and SOAS. He has advised national and international bodies on heritage and culture including the United Nations. In 2005, he led the biggest celebration of Africa that Britain has ever hosted with Africa 2005. Amongst a range of honours, he has been awarded a King’s College London cultural fellowship for service to the arts and a SOAS Honorary Fellowship for service to Africa.

Partha Mitter arrived in England in 1962, from India to pursue a career in painting, and to study for a degree in history. The first lecture that he heard was delivered by Gombrich, on re-interpreting Hegel. Overwhelmed by his delivery and content, as a result Mitter’s career took a dramatic and unexpected turn. Reading and re-reading Art and Illusion, he became determined to get to know Gombrich, and eventually worked with him for his doctoral degree. The outcome was Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (1977), published a year before Said’s celebrated Orientalism (1978). His next project looked at the reception of western art practices and institutions in India, imposed by the British Raj to inculcate good taste in Indians, focussing on the period from the 1920s to 1940s. In 2008, he published in Art Bulletin the essay ‘Decentering Modernism: Art History and Avant-Garde Artists from the Periphery’. From 1974 to 2002 he taught art history at the University of Sussex. Between 2008 and 2019 he worked with the Bauhaus Foundation in Berlin and Dessau, on ‘decentring’ the Bauhaus, and at present is developing the concept of the ‘virtual cosmopolis’ as a way of understanding cultural encounters.

We will confer the awards to our stellar cohort of 2024 Art History Fellows during our Annual Conference, 3-5 April 2024. Their talks and presentations are open to all conference attendees.

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