Roundtable | Revisioning the Present

This series of talks and events is co-presented by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, The Power Institute, and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Originating in and celebrating the very latest and best scholarship in Asian art from around the world, this initiative complements the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ innovative exhibition program in Asian art, and the University of Sydney’s region-leading programs in the arts and cultures of Asia.

This roundtable took place on 26 November 2020, as part of the 2020 Sydney Asian Art Series.

About the lecture

With an eye to image cultures developing around us, Rahaab Allana (Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi) has invited three practitioners to share a work of art, artefact, a poem or inscription – any object that embodies for them a source of knowledge about our past and future, which inscribes a moment that should live on and become a source of inspiration. The session explores what we consider of critical importance from the arts as an interdisciplinary field, that re-envisions a socio-political or cultural moment, making possible alternative ways of seeing and believing. The moderator is Rahaab Allana, and the speakers are: Diwas Raja KC (based in Kathmandu, Nepal) Ruhanie Perera (based in Colombo, Sri Lanka) Indu Antony (based in Bangalore, India)

About the Speakers

Rahaab Allana is Curator/Publisher, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi, and has curated, contributed to, and edited several publications and exhibitions on South Asian photography and its trans-national histories, both in India and around the world. He is the Founding/Managing Editor of PIX (, a theme-based photography initiative and is currently Guest Editing a volume for Aperture Magazine.

Diwas Raja KC is currently the Head of Research & Archives at Nepal Picture Library, where his work has focused on engendering a research-based approach to art, archival and curatorial practice. His curatorial show and subsequent photobook Dalit: A Quest for Dignity (2016) explored ways of witnessing Dalit pasts in Nepal. His co-curated exhibition The Public Life of Women (2018) monumentalized feminist pasts in Nepal as an intervention in public memory. He also works as a documentary film editor.

Ruhanie Perera is a performer and lecturer based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She works at the Department of English, University of Colombo, and is a founding member of the performance collective Floating Space. In 2009, she graduated from Goldsmiths, London with an MA in Performance and Culture. This has shaped her research foci: storytelling communities and lived-experience in performance. ‘Inscribing Her’ (first performed at the International Art Critics’ Association Seminar in Colombo) and ‘Somewhere Between Truth and its Telling’ (first performed at Stranger Than Fiction in London, and at present part of the exhibition one hundred thousand small stories) are two solo performances that reflect her preoccupation as a performer with the body and the lived experience of women.

Indu Antony is an artist from Kerala based out of Bangalore, India. She works in multiple mediums, of which photography is a core element. She often works with ideas questioning societal confinement, identity, gender, public access, collective and suppressed memories. The 2020 Sydney Asian Art Series Each year, the Sydney Asian Art Series gathers leading international voices on critical issues in early, modern and contemporary Asian art. In response to the cancellation of in-person events, the 2020 series has moved online. As we embrace this virtual format, the 2020 series aptly explores the intersections of art and visual technologies, in the context of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Asia.

The series is convened and moderated by Dr Olivier Krischer who is an art historian, curator, and editor based at the University of Sydney, where he is the acting director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

To watch the roundtable, please go to the direct link.