History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Akshaya Tankha


Email: akshaya.tankha@mail.utoronto.ca | Website: https://utoronto.academia.edu/AkshayaTankha

Supervisor: Prof. Kajri Jain

My research draws on extensive experience in museums and cultural institutions in India. I worked for several years at the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, an important center for the preservation, documentation and study of South Asian photography. I have been a consultant for Khoj International Artists Association, a catalyst for contemporary art in South Asia and the global South. I was a researcher for one of the largest surveys of museum practice in post-independence India (a Getty Foundation funded collaboration between Jawaharlal Nehru University and UCLA) and co-authored a report on museum policies for the Government of India.

Areas of Academic Interest
  • Indigenous image cultures in modern India
  • Visual culture in modern India
  • Indigenous art and crafts in and outside South Asia
  • Museums, exhibitionary practice and public culture
  • Aesthetics and politics
  • Materiality
Current Research
  • My doctoral thesis explores the image cultures of ethnicity, sub-nationalism and religion in the Indigenously inhabited northeast Indian state of Nagaland where a longstanding armed sub-nationalist movement came to a provisional end in 1997. I examine the politics of aesthetic forms that re-engage the colonial and postcolonial archives of indigeneity and intersect with religion, sub-nationalism, governmentality, commerce and Indigenous practices in a marginalized and militarized region in late-liberal India.
  • MA, Arts and Aesthetics JNU (2006), India
  • MPhil, Anthropology University of Cambridge, UK (2008)
Selected Publications
  • 2016

    Book Review: Pachuau, Joy, and Willem van Schendel The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India Delhi:

    Cambridge University Press, History: Reviews of New Books, 44:5, 151-152

  • 2015

    Tankha, Akshaya. “Two Museums in Guwahati” in Mathur, Saloni, and Kavita Singh. 2015. No touching, no spitting, no praying: the museum in South Asia. New Delhi: Routledge

  • 2014

    Book Review: Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India, History of Photography, 38:1, 104-106.

Recent Awards
  • 2016-2017 Mellon-JHI Graduate Fellowship
  • 2016 India-Canada Association Scholarship
  • 2011-15 Connaught Scholarship for International Doctoral Students

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