Photo of Professor Deepali Dewan

Deepali Dewan

Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture, Royal Ontario Museum
Associate Professor (status only), Department of Art History
Centre for South Asian Studies




100 Queen's Park



Deepali Dewan is an art historian with a special interest in the visual cultures of South Asia. She is a Senior Curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Associate Professor, status only, in the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto, and is affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies. Her research spans colonial, modern and contemporary visual culture, knowledge production, and historiography. Her work on colonial South Asia has examines the links between early art education, the circulation of objects, and the production of knowledge in the discipline of art history. Her research on 20th-century art has focused on the work of specific artists as a way to begin to map the larger picture of post-colonial visual practice. Her work on the history of photography has focused on India and the South Asian diaspora as a way to understanding how photographic practice has shaped contemporary ways of viewing and being in the world. Her current research considers family photography as cultural practice and is part of the collaborative project The Family Camera Network. She is the author of Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India (2013, co-authored with Deborah Hutton), Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs (2012), and the editor of Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s (2011). All three were accompanied by exhibitions.

Research interests

History of photography
Colonial & Modern visual culture
Contemporary & Diaspora arts
Production of Knowledge


Ph.D. University of Minnesota, (2001)
M.A., University of Minnesota (1995)
BA McGill University, (1993)

Selected Publications:

2021. “P. Mansaram (1934-2020): A Canadian Artist in, and of, the World,” Canadian Art (March 16, 2021).

2021. “The Photobook as Public Space,” aperture, Issue 243 (Summer): 40-45. In special issue “Looking Out / Looking in: Delhi” guest edited by Rahaab Allana.

2020. “Anita Dube” and “Gauri Gill,” in Luce Lebart and Marie Robert, eds. Une histoire mondiale des femmes photographes, Paris: Les editions Textuel.

2020. “Family Still in Motion: Goa-Karachi-Toronto.” PIX special issue on “Personal Paradigms.”

2020. “Movement and the Making of Home: Family Photographs Through a Transnational Lens” (with Thy Phu and Jordache A. Ellapen). PIX special issue on “Personal Paradigms.”

2020. “Drik Picture Library, Dhaka Bangladesh: A Conversation with Shahidul Alam,” Trans Asia Photography Review, Volume 10, issue 2 (Spring 2020).

2020. “Knowing Chintz, 1850-1900,” in Sarah Fee, ed. Cloth that Changed the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp 221-225.

2019. “Objects Across Empire: the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto,” in Allysa B Peyton and Katherine A Paul, eds. Sourcing the Arts of South Asia: Cultures of Collecting. Gainesville: University Press of Florida., pp. 38-61.

2018. Guest Editor, “Family Photography,” Special issue of Trans Asian Photography Review, 7 essays (Fall).

2017. Co-authored with Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu, “The Family Camera Network,” Photography and Culture, vol. 10, issue 2, pp. 147-163.

2016. “A Tale of Two Mediums: Paint and Photography in Udaipur,” in Molly Emma Aitken, ed. A Magical World, New Visions of Indian Painting, In Tribute to Ananda Coomaraswamy’s Rajput Painting of 1916. Mumbai: Marg Publications, pp. 64-73.

2016. “Useful and Dangerous: Photography and the Madras School of Art, 1850-1873,” in Rebecca Brown and Deborah Hutton, eds. Rethinking Place in South Asian and Islamic Art, 1500–present. Ashgate, pp. 208-234.

2014. “We’ll Take Your Artifacts but Not Your People: The Komagata Maru in Canada’s South Asian Diasporic History,” Trans Asian Photography Review, Volume 5, Issue 1: Photography and Diaspora, Guest Edited by Anthony W. Lee, (Fall).

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