Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Menu Close

401 Broadway #1620
New York, NY 10013
+1 212 254 8200


Asha Iman Veal

Photographed by Benita Nnenna Nnachortam

Photographed by Benita Nnenna Nnachortam

​Asha Iman Veal is a curator of contemporary art (the Museum of Contemporary Photography) and an art school professor (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)​.

Her exhibitions Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part (2022) and LOVE: Still Not the Lesser (2023) brought together cross-diasporic conversations between global artists Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Cog•nate Collective, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, Ngadi Smart, and more; and celebrations of love and desire by Jorian Charlton, Jess T. Dugan, and Mous Lamrabat, among others. Her Chicago Architecture Biennial 2021 exhibition and public program series, RAISIN (vol. 1), commissioned several new artworks and generated community among more than 30 global artists, including Işıl Eğrikavuk, Amanda Williams, and Tintin Wulia. She has additionally curated exhibitions for the MSU Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum by Zaha Hadid, Hyde Park Art Center, and more. 

Through her classes in the Department of Arts Administration & Policy at SAIC, Asha Iman expanded direct curricular links to global arts, culture, and multimedia discourses by inviting and hosting more than 100 virtual and in-person discussions with guests such as Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska, 2015 International Venice Biennial – Pavilion of the Republic of Macedonia artists; the late Bisi Silva, CCA Lagos founder; and David Ennio Minor, ballet dancer and movement adviser for global science and robot technology. Her additional innovations include piloting and co-teaching a full-semester graduate-level course between in-person and virtual classrooms in Chicago, US and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; piloting and leading a core professional development undergraduate course “Being a Woman of Color in the Arts”; co-developing and leading the "Spheres of Cultural Valuation" graduate-level course on comparative cultural policy and global arts ecosystems; and expanding the department’s undergraduate advanced curatorial theory and practice course. 

Asha Iman has been invited as a distinguished jury reviewer for awards and residencies, including the East African Photography Awards, Earth Photo Award by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society, Terra Foundation/American Academy in Rome, Visual Studies Workshop NY, University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, Arts Work Fund Chicago, and more. She has been an invited portfolio reviewer and crit panelist for the FORMAT International Photography Festival UK, Rencontres d'Arles France, FotoFest Houston, University of Chicago DOVA, RISDI, Chicago Artist Coalition, and others.

Veal has been a guest lecturer and panelist for international cultural institutions such as GRAIN Projects UK, Pakhuis de Zwijger Amsterdam, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago, Humanity In Action – Netherlands, San Diego State University, Midwest Art Historical Society, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and more. She is active in the ORACLE Conference of International Photography Curators, and Independent Curators International – Curatorial Forum and Chicago Assembly (2023 cohorts). 

Additionally, Veal bridges interdisciplinary relationships between the arts, government, corporate and nonprofit sectors through her role as a Senior Fellow of Humanity in Action (EU/UK/US), member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network (Global Table), and a Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leader. She is a board member of Filter Photo (Chicago), and was a recent board member of Experimental Sound Studio and Audible Gallery. Previous grant supporters of her exhibitions include the National Endowment of the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation, The Joyce Foundation; BMW Foundation, Humanity in Action/Alfred Landecker Foundation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and others. 

She has separately worked on projects and/or arts research in New York, Tokyo, Havana, Vietnam, Edinburgh, Darby/London, Berlin, Juárez, and Chicago; and staff roles in New York and Chicago.

Asha Iman Veal earned her BA at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, focusing on contemporary literary practices, nonfiction narrative, and creative examples that deepen the understanding of contemporary multiculturalism. She earned her MFA in creative writing at The New School (NY), where she completed her literary nonfiction thesis Brooklyn (the Black), which she later published in 2015. 

She earned her MA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her thesis, “The Tokyo Show: Black & Brown Are Beautiful,” presented research on: Tokyo-based arts ecologies and possible site-partners for an independent exhibition (field study, 2014 and 2016); the identification and analysis of curatorial models based on historic exhibitions and contemporary projects; a visual critical review of global arts depictions of Black America c.1960s; and interviews with historic American artists including sculptor Richard Hunt, Warhol actress Abigail Rosen McGrath, and with Louise Greaves, the partner of late filmmaker William Greaves.