Ayesha Matthan is a PhD student in the department of History of Art and Visual Studies. She is interested in photojournalistic practices, popular visual culture and politics in the Indian subcontinent from the 19th century to the present day.
She holds a Bachelors in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and a degree in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. She was subsequently an arts journalist with the national daily The Hindu in Bangalore.
Ayesha returned to New Delhi for a Masters in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, followed by an MPhil degree. Her MPhil thesis is titled "From Courts, Studios to Bazaars: A Visual History of the Tawa'if in Colonial North India, late 18th to early 20th centuries". It attempted to explore the tawa'if's visual trajectory over a century and a half from court paintings, studio photography, to matchbox labels, in Awadh and Delhi. And to juxtapose her thus emerging coordinates over the extant orientalist, nationalist and postcolonial readings for a comparative critique. This work was presented at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge and Tate Britain.
Later, she was Research Scholar with the photography archive The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi and Communications Writer with the grantmaking organisation India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore. Ayesha has published with DAG Modern and The Alkazi Foundation.