Photo: Salah Hassan


Salah M. Hassan is an art historian, critic and curator whose work focuses on African and African Diaspora art history and visual cultures as well as the black intellectual tradition.

Hassan is Director of The Africa Institute, Sharjah. He is also Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities as well as Professor of Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center and the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, Ithaca, US.

Hassan has curated a number of international exhibitions, including major ones at the Venice and Dakar Bienniales. He has also curated or co-curated exhibitions such as When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965), organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and presented at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (2017) and Palace of Arts, Cairo (2016); The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945-Present), Sharjah Art Foundation (2016); 3x3: Three Artists/Three Projects: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Pamela Z, Dak'Art, Dakar (2004); and Authentic/Ex-Centric, 49th Venice Biennale (2001), among others.

He is founding editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University Press) and has also authored, edited and co-edited a number of books and journals, including Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (Museum for African Art and Tate Modern, 2012/2013); African Modernism, a special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly (Duke University Press, 2010); Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader (Cornell University Press, 2009); Diaspora, Memory, Place, (Prestel, 2008); Unpacking Europe, (NAi Publishers, 2001); Authentic/Ex-Centric (Forum for African Arts, 2001); and Gendered Visions: The Art of Contemporary Africana Women Artists (Africa World Press, 1997).

Hassan was awarded the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship in Art History and the Humanities, and he has also received grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, Afrique en créations, Prince Claus Fund and Sharjah Art Foundation.

Hassan earned a BA (honours) from the University of Khartoum (1978) and an MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1984 and 1988, respectively).

Born in Juba (South Sudan today), Hassan currently lives and works between Ithaca and Sharjah.

SAF participation:\
March Meeting 2022
March Meeting 2021
Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (2012)
Sharjah Biennial 15 (Member, Working Group)
March Meeting, 2012; 2018 (Keynote Speaker; Speaker)
When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) (2016, 2017)
The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) (2016)
Amir Nour: Brevity is the Soul: A Retrospective (1964–2016)
Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq: Women in Crystal (2016)
Ahmed Morsi: A Dialogic Imagination (2016)
Kamal Youssef: Egyptian Surrealism’s Time Capsule (2015)