The art historian and curator Lora Sariaslan received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam with her dissertation Pins on the Map: Urban Mappings in European-Turkish Contemporary Art. Her academic focus is on contemporary visual art, mapping the urban, and migration through its role within identity politics and multiple belongings.
In reflecting on how maps and mapping can serve as sources and inspiration for contemporary art, her research examines a group of European-Turkish/Turkish-European artists from a range of aesthetic and cultural perspectives. It unearths and locates how these artists, who work in a variety of media, have engaged maps and other forms of cartographic practice. Going beyond the passports of the artists in focus, the European-Turkishness/Turkish-Europeanness compound aims to capture the agency of the hyphenated identities, which characterizes both their biographies and their art. By turning to works that have not previously been analyzed through the lens of artistic mappings, the dissertation aims to provide a new methodology for studying intersections between mapping and contemporary art that challenges our ideas about what a map is and can do, transforming art into maps and maps into art.
Lora Sariaslan received her B.A. in Art History and Integrated International Studies from Knox College, Illinois, and her M.A. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin.
She was assistant curator at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas (2001-2005) and curator at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (2005-2011). She has curated/co-curated exhibitions internationally, among others, the 2nd Mardin Biennial: Double Take in Turkey (2012), This yearning is ours! at the Center of Contemporary Art in Torun, Poland (2016) and What We Forget at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam (2019).
A member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), Sariaslan is the National Correspondent for the European Museum Forum (EMF) for Turkey.