Call for papers : From Alexandria to Tokyo: Art, Colonialism and Entangled HistoriesHyundai Tate Research Centre

Date: 25-26 June 2020
Location: Academyhills (49F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Tokyo)
Organised by Mori Art Museum and Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational in collaboration with Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University


The symposium aims to decentre present-day debates on art and colonialism. While European colonialism and imperialism have become important themes in contemporary museum and academic discourses and exhibition practices, artistic perspectives on non-European colonialism and experiences of domination remain relatively understudied. This is so despite the complex creations and legacies these experiences have and continue to generate. Moreover, little comparative analysis has been done in this regard, especially as pertains to art. The symposium therefore aims to shed light on the multiplicity of colonialisms spanning from North Africa to East Asia and their role in the relational constitution of the modern world. In particular, it seeks to explore art and artist focused case studies that examine undisciplined histories, memory building and the conflicting, multivalent narratives these have generated.

The pressures of post-war and post-independence reconstructions and nation buildings have long concealed the complex and contested relationships between artistic connections and exchanges and the workings of domination and inequality. The symposium will thus question whether the formation of avant-garde artistic networks connected at an international level can be separated from the hierarchical conditions under which colonial connections were formed. Second, it will assess how the re-evaluation of colonialism raises a challenge as much to Eurocentric art histories as to nationalist ones, which have arguably contributed in drawing new separatist and exclusionary lines.

Papers that address the following themes through the perspective of art-based practices are particularly encouraged:

- The legacies of non-European colonialism, especially pertaining to Japan, Russia and Central Asia, the USA and the Philippines and the Ottoman Empire

- The politics of memorialisation in art, exhibition making and museography

- Pan-Asianism, non-aligned movement and anti-colonial struggles

- Art and activism in post-colonial conditions

- The representation of cosmopolitan port cities (for example present-day Alexandria, Beirut, Izmir (Smyrna), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Shanghai).

- Comparative perspectives with North American/European colonialisms

- Indigenous art practices

- Art and the representation of new forms of colonialism and domination on ethnic and/or religious minorities today


Hayashi Michio, Professor, Sophia University
Mami Kataoka, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum
Christian Kravagna, Professor, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Curator, International Art, Tate Modern
Devika Singh, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern





We invite scholars and practitioners working on relevant topics to submit a 250-word abstract and 2-page CV in English or Japanese to (%20htrc.transnational @ AND (%20tatexmori @ by Friday 6 December 2019.

Papers can be delivered in English or Japanese only. Selected speakers will be notified by mid-January 2020. They will receive economy/ standard class roundtrip to Tokyo, lunches and dinners on symposium days, and modest honorarium. Accommodation is not covered by the organisers but logistical assistance can be provided on request.

For inquires: (%20tatexmori @