By Nii B. Andrews.
The College Art Association, the largest and oldest scholarly and professional association in the field of art history has elected Salah Hassan, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in Africana Studies at Cornell University as the 2021 Distinguished Scholar.
This honor by the CAA recognizes Hassan’s scholarly contributions in writing, editing, publishing, curating exhibitions on “major but neglected artists,” and training doctoral students.
Hassan, an art historian, art critic and curator, is an expert on African and African Diaspora art history and visual cultures. He focuses particularly on contemporary art and modernism from comparative perspectives.
“I am of course humbled by such an honor from the leading scholarly organization in my field.
I am also happy as it signals a major shift in a field that has for so long remained Eurocentric, and in which arts of regions such as Africa, Asia and Latin America remained an appendix to, or a derivative of, the western narrative,” Hassan said.
He further emphasized that such an honor also signaled, “a shift towards a more global and comparativist approach to art history and visual culture, a vindication to the relentless effort of several scholars in the last two or three decades.”
Hassan is co-founder and co-editor of “Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art” (Duke University Press), the leading contemporary art journal on African and African diaspora art, among other editorial projects.
Iftikhar Dadi, associate professor and chair of the Department of History of Art at Cornell said, “Salah Hassan’s scholarship and curatorial work have been deeply formative in bringing recognition to the study of modern and contemporary African and African diaspora art”.
Hassan has authored, edited and co-edited several books including: “Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist”; “Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader” (2009) and “Diaspora, Memory, Place” (2008).
Major exhibitions that he curated focused on diverse movements in African and African-American modern and contemporary art, such as Surrealism in Egypt, and the Khartoum School of Art.