Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Sujatha Arundathi Meegama


Assistant Professor

School of Art, Design and Media
College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

Email: SUJATHAMEEGAMA@NTU.EDU.SG
Phone: (+65)6316 8721
Office: ART 4-20

Education
  • PhD (History of Art) University of California, Berkeley 2011
  • MA (East Asian Studies) Stanford University 1997
  • BA (Asian Studies) Temple University (Japan Campus) 1995
Biography
Sujatha Arundathi Meegama joined the School of Art, Design, and Media as an Assistant Professor in Art History in July 2012. She received her M.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in History of Art from University of California, Berkeley. Her research questions the ethno-religious construction of the Sri Lankan art historical canon and argues for an alternative narrative, one in which religious, cultural, and visual boundaries are negotiated by diverse patrons and artisan workshops. Her book under the working title of Connected Temples: Patrons, Artisans, and Deities of Buddhist and Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka examines two types of temples—kôvils and devâles—dedicated to deities associated with the two main ethnic groups in Sri Lanka: Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists, respectively. Questioning the oppositional binaries of South Indian and Sri Lankan, Hindu and Buddhist, Dravidian and Sinhalese, and invader and native that have heretofore framed the scholarship on Sri Lankan art, this book draws on the deeply connected art-historical approaches of patronage and appropriation, which focus on specific people and their actions, arguing for a more nuanced understanding of these religious monuments. Before she joined NTU, she was a Woman’s Board Fellow in Museum Education at The Art Institute of Chicago (1998-2000), and she was a James R. Gray Lecturer at the Department of History of Art at UC Berkeley (2011-2012).
Research Interests
Keywords: Patronage, Artisans, Influence, Appropriation, Connected Histories, Material Culture, East Meets West, Ethnography.

Sujatha is broadly interested in cross-cultural visual dialogues and tracing the various negotiations that are part of these complex encounters between the East and the West as well as within Asia. Apart from her methodological interests in patrons, artisans, influence, appropriation, and connected histories, she is also interested in ethnographic approaches to understanding the material culture of Asia. Currently, she is conducting new research on roadside shrines to the Hindu god Ganesha in the war-torn northern regions of Sri Lanka for a second book project on seeing the divine in contemporary Sri Lankan religious culture.

Research Grant:
Summer 09 History of Art Travel Grant, University of California, Berkeley.
2006-2007 Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Sri Lanka.
Summer 05 Graduate Division Summer Grant, University of California, Berkeley.
Summer 05 History of Art Travel Grant, University of California, Berkeley.
Summer 04 History of Art Travel Grant, University of California, Berkeley.
Summer 03 History of Art Travel Grant, University of California, Berkeley.

Current Projects:
*Ruins and Gifts: Art and Politics During the Portuguese Encounter in Sri Lanka.
*Praying on the A9: Patrons and Artisans of Roadside Shrines to Ganesha in Northern Sri Lanka.

Publications:
Sujatha Arundathi Meegama. “South Indian or Sri Lankan? The Hindu Temples in Polonnaruva, Sri Lanka.” Artibus
Asiae Vol. 70.1 (2010): 25-45.
Current Projects
  • Seeing The Divine In Sri Lankan Art

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