In 2019 Asha Iman Veal was curator for The Tokyo Show: Black & Brown Are Beautiful (Hyde Park Art Center), a project that advocates for cross-cultural solidarity across communities that are often kept apart because of geographic or political distance. Her additional projects include invited curatorial roles at Chicago Artists Coalition (2019), The Franklin (2020), Woman Made Gallery (2021), and more. Her institutional affiliation includes the Faculty of Arts Administration & Policy and Faculty of Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and recent Exhibitions and Residency Team at Hyde Park Art Center, where she facilitated research/studio residencies for more than twenty-five visual artists (and curators) from Chicago, Houston, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Iran, Spain, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, the U.K., and Macedonia. Asha Iman has worked on research and arts-based projects in Vietnam, Tokyo, Scotland, Canada, and Cuba. In 2019/2018 she juried for Arts + Public Life/The University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture, Ox-Bow, and more. Former roles at arts and advocacy organizations include playwright Eve Ensler’s V-Day global movement to end violence against women and girls. Asha Iman is presently on the Membership Committee at Experimental Sound Studio; ALAANA Caucus at Hyde Park Art Center; and the BMW Foundation’s Transatlantic Core Group (Germany/U.S.), Responsible Leaders Network (Global Table), and partnership with BLabs for the equitable and inclusive economies work group (Canada/U.S.).
My practice explores the possibilities of redirected routes of dialogues across global space—specifically through arts, and of complex identities. I believe in the formidable role of arts organizing and curatorial practice as powerful tactics of redefinition, and have spent the past eighteen years exploring the arts overall as a field of public discourse capable to reimagine and propose new frameworks.
Most recently through study of existing discourses within the global visual field (Enwezor, Martinez, Rogoff, Silva, von Bismarck, et al.), I've wanted to expand and know: How can curatorial practice be a strategy for advocating for artists and artistic pedagogies of leadership? What are the ways that curatorial practice functions as a reorganizing, political engagement? How is curatorial practice a "constellational" mode that encourages reconsidered meaning and relationships, capable to expand interaction and knowledge? How can a curatorial practice seek to critique and challenge routes of power and discourse, as demonstrated within postcolonial reorganization and emphasis?
Asha Iman Veal's text-based projects include The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 (2013), Brooklyn (the black) (2015), and more. These works have presented in the U.S. and U.K and been acquired by special collections libraries including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, the George Gustav Heye Center at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, The British Library St. Pancras, and Bibliothèque Kandinsky - Centre Pompidou - Centre de documentation et de recherche du Musée national d'art moderne - Centre de création industrielle, and others. Her short story and creative nonfiction work has been published by Brooklyn-based Slice Literary, among others. Asha Iman was founder of The Places We’ve Been books / The Places We’ve Been LLC, working from 2011 - 2015 with more than 48 writers from cities and countries including London, Greece, Tanzania, Dubai, Lebanon, Montreal, Vancouver, South Africa, Scotland, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more; with their affiliations and honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, BBC, StoryCorps, Marvel, MTV Base, The New York Times, and more. In 2013 The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 received project grants from the Chicago DCASE individual artist program and the Illinois Humanities Council's former Collaborative Cities sponsorship.
It is my eldest belief that a writer’s contributing task is to provide readers with insider, alternate ways of looking at diverse experiences of human existence as a way of expanding perspectives and encouraging new thought. My project Brooklyn (the black) tests what I've learned about how personal stories of identity and experience can be shared with public audience through multiple forms. The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 brought together an anthology and multinational perspective of forty-eight contributors.
I most often work through memoir and/or character-driven pieces. I love collaborative, independent publication projects.
I formally studied contemporary literary and narrative practices for many years, always seeking textual yet creative examples that deepen the understanding of contemporary multiculturalism.
Here is a full narrative of my career history, The Illustrated Story of How I Cut My Teeth, OR a direct jump to the most recent several years of my training and work dedicated to visual contemporary.
My faculty page at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
My Short C.V. that is peppered with many "hot links"
There's also a list of artists I've worked with (Et al.)
In 2017, I was guest editor-in-chief and developed the first multilingual edition of the emerge: Journal of Arts Administration and Policy, as a pedagogical tool to foster interconnected discourse on artistic practice, arts administration, and arts education.
Engaging a multidisciplinary community of peers within the arts, and advocating for an arts education as a valuable leadership background outside of the field, is also what I passionately do.
What else? I was born and raised in Northern California, and trained there, in New York, and in Chicago.
It is my strongest belief—and experience—that the power of an arts education is fierce across settings.