Asha Iman Veal is the Curatorial Fellow at Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, and a Humanity in Action Landecker Democracy Fellow (EU/UK/USA). She is Assistant Professor Adj. in the Department of Arts Administration & Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she proposed and developed the Being a Woman of Color in the Arts course, in addition to leading several undergraduate and graduate courses in various departments. Veal is a curator whose work advocates collaborative dialogues and cross-cultural solidarity between communities separated by geographic or political distance.
Her recent exhibitions include: Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part at MoCP (2022); RAISIN at 6018 North as a partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2021); a solo show of work by artist Martine Gutierrez at MoCP (2021); New Dream Center Program 9 at Hyde Park Art Center (2021); The Tokyo Show: Black & Brown Are Beautiful at Hyde Park Art Center (2019); and Preview 9: A Boldness to Dare and Try at Chicago Artists Coalition (2019). She was an Associate Festival Producer for playwright Eve Ensler’s V-Day global movement to end violence against women and girls (New York), and has worked on arts projects or research in Edinburgh, Vietnam, Juárez, Havana, Tokyo, and more.
Asha Iman is a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network (global table) as a voice for arts and education; and she previously participated in the BMW Transatlantic Core Group (Germany/U.S.), and BLabs/BCorps Inclusive Economies Workgroup (Canada/U.S.). She served on the membership committee at Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago), and is a new member of the Board of Heaven Gallery (Chicago). She has been an invited juror for Arts + Public Life at The University of Chicago; Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture at The University of Chicago; Experimental Sound Studio; 3Arts; Arts Work Fund; OxBow; and ACRE.
B.A. The Gallatin School at New York University, M.F.A. The New School, M.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Literary Projects and Published Works: Brooklyn (the Black), 2015; The Places We’ve Been, 2013 (ed.); Apsaalooke : art and tradition, 2006 (ed.); emerge: digital journal of arts administration and policy, 2017 (ed.), etc.
A full curriculum vitae (updated January 2021) details her professional history and accomplishments.
A very condensed résumé of curatorial and arts programming, is available via LinkedIn.
Also, links are available to the Alfred Landecker Fellowship, MoCP, Department of Arts Administration & Policy at SAIC.
As an arts professor, I focus on curatorial theory as well as how art and cultural production serve as forms of advocacy and public discourse.
Through artistic collaborations, my work advocates cross-cultural solidarity across communities that are often kept apart by geographic or political distance.
The following questions drive my practice and stay on my mind: How does curatorial practice function as a form of social and political engagement? How does curatorial practice create moments of possibility and engage the public? How can curatorial practice be used as a strategy in advocating and modeling artistic pedagogies of leadership?
Most often my projects focus on cross-cultural dialogues across global space and include personal and collective tools of eloquent disruptions to spatial imaginaries based on race.
I additionally study various contemporary projects and arts organization models.
I am a creative writer, and completed an MFA in creative nonfiction.
I studied contemporary literary and narrative practices formally for many years, seeking textual yet creative examples that deepen the understanding of contemporary multiculturalism.
Most often my own work is in memoir and/or character-driven fiction, and is very attached to place. I love collaborative publication projects and am always excited to work on something new.
My projects The Places We’ve Been (2013) and Brooklyn (the black) (2015), presented in the U.S. and U.K. and have been acquired by special collections libraries, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Here's a full narrative of my career history, The Illustrated Story of How I Cut My Teeth, OR a direct jump to the most recent years of my work dedicated to visual contemporary.
Here's my faculty page at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I was granted an Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as founded the Being a Woman of Color in the Arts undergraduate course.
Plus a direct link to see the independent, start-up arts and humanities project The Places We've Been that I launched in 2011 and led through 2015.
In 2017, I hosted the late curator Bisi Silva for a lecture and visit to School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bisi shared this insight that helped me to reflect on and contextualize my path and career.
What else? I was born and raised in Northern California, and trained there, in New York, and in Chicago.
I've spent the past 15+ years exploring the arts as a field of public discourse that's capable to reimagine and propose new frameworks.
I am passionate about engaging a multidisciplinary community of my peers within and outside the arts field.
It is my strongest belief and experience that power of an arts education is fierce across settings, as a dynamic skillset for leadership.