|In the early 1980s, when few South Asian art historians thought seriously about the art of the colonial period or beyond, Marcella Sirhandi chose Abdur Rahman Chughtai, a modern South Asian artist, for her PhD dissertation at The Ohio State University. Because Chughtai's style and subjects were so diverse the research required an investigation of art from Iran, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh from the Sultanate Period to the time of Chughtai's death in 1975. Sirhandi continued to publish books, essays and journal articles on contemporary Indian and Pakistani art. After the publication of Contemporary Painting in Pakistan, her first book, Sirhandi curated a number of exhibitions of Asian art and wrote catalogs for them.
Sirhandi worked with David Kamansky, director of the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena and Khalid Sirhandi to curate the first exhibition of Pakistani contemporary painting in the USA. A full color catalog was produced for the event in 1994. A few years later Sirhandi and Bradley Tindall co curated an exhibition on the art of Antonio Xavier Trindade, an early twentieth century Goan painter who taught at the J J School of Art in Bombay. A full color catalog was produced for this event as well. Sirhandi worked with Larry Perkins at the Harn Museum of Art to curate an exhibition for their collection of art by Calcutta artist Jamini Roy. Sirhandi hosted an exhibition of miniature paintings by Bashir Ahmad and curated an exhibition of miniature paintings by Ahmad's Pakistani and Oklahoma students. Most recently she curated an exhibition of 1930s photographs of the Nepalese ruling family and a retrospective exhibition of the art of Luba Agha.
Dr. Sirhandi's College Art Association's Art Jounal issue co edited with Andrew Cohen on Contemporary Indian Art was the first of it's kind. Sirhandi's other essays on South Asian art have been published in Arts of Asia, Arts and the Islamic World, Libas International and Eastern Art Report. On a Fulbright grant to Pakistan in 2000--extended to two years--Sirhandi joined the committee to create the Master's Program in Fine Arts at the National College of Arts in Lahore and wrote the curriculum for the South Asian art history component and taught there for a semester. In February 2010 Sirhandi completed the manuscript for a book on Mohan Samant, a Bombay born, JJ School educated painter, a member of the Progressive Artists Group in the early years after Independence who settled in New York in 1968. Missing student interaction after retirement from Oklahoma State University in 2009, Sirhandi will join the faculty at the University of Missouri, Kansas City to teach a course on Contemporary South Asian art.
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