Asian Art Histories

Asian Art Histories is a website of the Master of Arts in Asian Art Histories programme at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. The Master of Arts in Asian Art Histories is unique in being the first taught postgraduate programme to focus on Asian contemporary visual arts. The Programme seeks to educate and train students who have interest in contributing original scholarship to the discourse of an emerging field. At the same time, the Programme equips students with the appropriate expertise and rigour to undertake a higher level of independent research work such as a PhD.

Although the scope of the Programme covers the Asian region (namely, East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia), it has a particular focus on Southeast Asia, for which writing and research have only recently begun to emerge. While the Programme covers conventional art historical research and methodologies, the diverse histories, cultures and practices of the Asian region present a unique opportunity for students to critically engage with questions and issues relating to notions of identity, tradition, ethnicity, self-reflexivity, community and aesthetics that are specific to an Asian context. Students will also learn how artists negotiate, dissolve and problematise the East/West, modern/traditional and craft/art dichotomies. The Programme will discuss critical terms such as modernism and contemporaneity that reflects the diversity of historical contexts, cultural specificities, post-colonial experiences and artistic practices of the region.

In addition to providing students with the historical and theoretical grounding to contextualise the arts of the region, the Programme’s curriculum and strong links to the visual arts sector ensure that students will also be given first-hand exposure to the art world. A key feature of the Programme is a study trip to a country in the region where students will learn how the art world—artists, galleries, museums, curators, collectors— responds to specific social and cultural contexts in the production of art. Being a practice-led institution as well as having the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore within the campus means that students will have the opportunity to encounter, study and write about artworks, art practices and exhibitions first-hand. The knowledge generated from the Programme can be channelled into pioneering work in a variety of fields which include curation (freelance and institutional), museums, art gallery, auction house, critical writing, academia and art consultancy.