Deepali Dewan

Deepali Dewan

Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture, Royal Ontario Museum,
Associate Professor, Department of Art
Affiliated Faculty, Centre for South Asian Civilizations




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 in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto, and is affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies. She is also part of the Toronto Photography Seminar, a group of scholars from Ontario institutions who read, produce, and edit collaborative research concerning the history and theory of photography.

Dewan’s research interests encompass nineteenth and twentieth-century visual culture of South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora. 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 research on the history and theory of photography in India explores how the photographic image played a productive role in the trajectories of colonialism, nationalism, and modernity, with a view toward understanding how photography has shaped contemporary ways of viewing and being in the world.

Research interests

History and theory of photography
19th/20th century visual practice
Contemporary & Diaspora arts
Sri Lanka


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

Selected Publications:

2017. Thy Phu, Elspeth Brown, Deepali Dewan. “The Family Camera Network.” Photography and Culture, 10, 2, 147-163. (LINK)

2017. Deepali Dewan and Jennifer Orpana. “Family Photographs: Shaping Self, memory, and family narrative.” ROM Magazine, Spring, 38-43. (PDF)

2017. Deepali Dewan. “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, 208-234. (LINK)

2016. Deepali Dewan. “Neo-Tantrism in the Diaspora: Youngo Verma (1938-2014).” Kundalini: Union of the Divine, Art Gallery of Mississauga, np. (PDF)

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),

2013. Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in Nineteenth-century India. Co-authored with Deborah Hutton. New Delhi: Mapin and The Alkazi Collection of Photography.

2012. Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs, towards a transcultural history of photography. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press.

2012. “The Limits of Photography: The Dayal Studio’s Coronation Album, 1903,” in Julie Codell, ed. Photography and the Delhi Coronation Durbars, 1877-1911. New Delhi and Ahmedabad: Alkazi Collection of Photography and Mapin, pp. 142-159.

2011. Review of The Waterhouse Albums: Central Indian Provinces, by John Falconer. Trans Asia Photograph Review, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Fall. TAPR (Trans Asia Photogrpahy Review).

2011. (Editor) Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press.

2010. “A Lover’s Discourse: the art of Anita Dube,” in Gayatri Sinha, ed. Voices of Change: 20 Indian Artists. Mumbai: Marg Publishers, pp. 88-101.


Visual South Asia
Global Asia

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