Biography

Art historian and artist Iftikhar Dadi is the John H. Burris Professor in the Department of History of Art and Director of the South Asia Program, and board member of the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University. He researches and teaches modern and contemporary art from a global and transnational perspective, with emphasis on questions of methodology and intellectual history. His writings have focused on modernism and contemporary practice in Asia, the Middle East, and their diasporas. Other research examines the film, media, and popular cultures of South Asia in order to understand how emergent publics forge new avenues for civic participation.

Dadi’s essays have appeared in numerous journals, edited volumes, and online platforms. He is the author of Lahore Cinema: Between Realism and Fable (2022); and Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), which received the Book Prize from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Other publications include the edited monograph Anwar Jalal Shemza (2015), the co-edited catalogue Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (2012) and the co-edited reader Unpacking Europe: Towards a Critical Reading (2001). He is advisor to Asia Art Archive, a Hong Kong-based research organisation, and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of the journals ArtMargins, Bio-Scope: South Asian Screen Studies and Archives of Asian Art. He was previously a member of the advisory board of Art Journal (2007–2011).

Among his co-curated exhibitions are Lines of Control, Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, US (2013) and Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, US (2012); Tarjama/Translation, Herbert F. Johnson Museum (2010) and Queens Museum of Art, New York (2009); and Unpacking Europe, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2001).

As an artist, Dadi works collaboratively with Elizabeth Dadi. Their work investigates questions of memory and borders in contemporary globalisation, and the productive capacities of urban informalities across the Global South. Their practice draws on archaeology, cinema and art historical references, and critically engages with site-specificity. Selected exhibitions and projects include Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge (2019–2020); 13th Havana Biennial, Matanzas (2019); Lahore Biennale 01, Pakistan (2018); John Hartell Gallery, Cornell University (2018 and 2015); and Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2018 and 2015); Office of Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo (2017); Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2016); Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario (2013); Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (2012); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2010); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010); Kunstnernes Hus-Oslo (2005); Moderna Museet-Stockholm (2005); Queens Museum of Art, New York (2005); Liverpool Biennial 03, Tate Liverpool (2002); EV+A 2002, Limerick, Ireland (2002); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000); Third Asia-Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia (1999); and 24th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (1998).

Dadi received his PhD from Cornell University (2003). Born in Karachi, Pakistan, he lives and works in Ithaca, New York, US.

SAF participation:
March Meeting 2022
March Meeting 2021
Production Programme 2020 (Jury)