Amin Alsaden is a curator, writer, and educator whose work focuses on transnational solidarities and exchanges across cultural boundaries.
With a commitment to advancing social justice through the arts, Alsaden’s curatorial practice advocates for the dissemination of more diverse, inclusive, and global narratives, by decentering and expanding existing canons, and challenging hegemonic knowledge and power structures. He is particularly interested in socially engaged artists and architects who interrogate collective agency in the public realm and level institutional critique. His exhibitions invariably raise questions concerning the interrelated domains of history, politics, geography, colonialism, extraction, organized violence, and exile.
Alsaden’s scholarship explores the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and architecture globally, with specific expertise in the Arab-Muslim world and its diasporas. His research is often an inquiry into anti-colonial discourses and creative resistance cultures, those developed in the non-West as well as those pioneered by Indigenous and racialized communities in the West. He also studies: constructions and perception of space; historiography, endangered heritage, and archives; museological and exhibitionary practices; impact of warfare and militarization on the environment; Orientalism and representational tropes; monumentality, commemoration, and the public sphere. His doctoral dissertation, which he is turning into a book, investigates modernism in post-World War II Baghdad, when the city became a locus of unprecedented encounters that transformed art and architecture well beyond Iraq, while engendering a unique local movement.
Alsaden holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University, a master’s from Princeton University, and completed his undergraduate education at the American University of Sharjah. He has taught at several institutions, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and regularly serves as an invited lecturer, critic, and jury member at art, curatorial, and design programs.
He has presented his research internationally, and written for numerous publications including Artforum, Art Journal, ArtAsiaPacific, Burlington Contemporary, Harvard Design Magazine, Ibraaz, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Momus, Ocula, Texte zur Kunst, The Brooklyn Rail, Third Text, and Vie des arts.
Originally from Baghdad, Alsaden has lived and worked in different cities around the world. He is currently based in Toronto, Canada, the traditional territory of several Indigenous nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.