Iftikhar Dadi

Closing Remarks | A Look Back at ACAW FIELD MEETING
October 27th, 2014 New York City

In his closing remarks, artist, art historian and curator Iftikhar Dadi began by expanding on FIELD MEETING Director Leeza Ahmady’s opening remarks about the Asian continent as the most populated one on the planet, and its diversity by asking, “How does one account for this riven, expansive history that continues to intervene into our present? How can recent art and scholarship strive to catalyze the place called “Asia” in a critical register for today?”

Originally from South Asia, Dadi researches modern and contemporary West Asian and Indian Ocean culture and viewpoints and recently spent two months in Hong Kong as a scholar and artist-in-residence, where he had the opportunity to evaluate what Asia means today, with a fresh set of eyes. Reflecting on FIELD MEETING presentations and his interactions with speakers during the forum, Dadi passionately emphasized some of the challenges that contemporary artists face to reach broader audiences and to have their works deciphered more deeply, through local lenses and yet beyond the specificities of regions. Poignant resources are still lacking, such as sufficient documentation of great exhibitions, critical and contextualized reviews of artworks, and appropriate support that allows for the commissioning of superior texts for artists’ catalogs.

Dadi ended by urging all to continue to grow, diversify, and energize the field by “developing new methods of thinking and practice” and to create an environment as exemplified by FIELD MEETING: of sustained reflection, debate, and scholarship.

> Watch Iftikhar Dadi’s closing remarks at FIELD MEETING 2014

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Iftikhar DADI (New York)
Iftikhar Dadi, Ph.D, is an associate professor in Cornell University’s Department of History of Art and Chair of its Department of Art. He has curated exhibitions such as Unpacking Europe at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2001), and is the author of books including Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (2010). He is also an artist, working in collaboration with Elizabeth Dadi.

Iftikhar Dadi’s research examines art as a global and networked practice from the late nineteenth century to the present. He engages with theorizations of modernity, contemporaneity, and postcoloniality to analyze the modern and contemporary art of Asia, the Middle East, and their diasporas. Another research interest is his study of media, crafts, and popular culture with reference to ongoing socio-aesthetic transformations in South Asia, seeking to understand how emergent urban publics forge new avenues of civic participation. Dadi’s curatorial projects and his work as a practicing artist have further served to enrich his academic scholarship.

(Sources: https://blogs.guggenheim.org/author/iftikhardadi/ & https://arthistory.cornell.edu/people/dadi.cfm)