History of Art


Anaïs Da Fonseca



Anaïs Da Fonseca

Anaïs Da Fonseca is an Associate Lecturer in History of Art. She received her Ph.D. in History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2017. Her research and teaching focus on modern and contemporary art from South Asia, the history of craft, design, and “folk and tribal arts,” and the politics of culture and heritage in South Asia. She is also interested in the phenomenology of contemporary art making, and in the Europe-India-Africa trade and movements of skills since the 19th century.

Before joining UCL, Anaïs was a Researcher in the Economic history of West Africa at London Business School (2019-2021), a Research Associate at the SOAS South Asia Institute (2018-2019) and an adjunct researcher at Tate Research Centre: Asia (2017-2018). 

Contact Details

Office: 204 (21 Gordon Square) 

Office hours: Mondays 4-5 pm 

Email: anais.fonseca.09@ucl.ac.uk


Lecturer (Teaching) 

Dept of History of Art

Faculty of S&HS

Research Themes

Modern and contemporary art from South Asia, the history of craft, design, and “folk and tribal arts,” and the politics of culture and heritage in South Asia


Research Summary

Anaïs’s current book project examines crafts' ways of forming transregional networks across India, South Asia, Europe and West Africa. At the juncture of art history and visual anthropology, the project is a study of artefacts, their materiality, makers and making, and of craft markets and cultural institutions. It engages with culturally-bound and context-specific notions of authorship, creativity and innovation. The book analyses the politics of collaborations between artists and artisans in South Asia, exploring the processes, materials and relationships they embody, and tracing their emergence and implications within the globalised art world and its institutions. It also considers craft as a conceptual framework for process-based contemporary artists in India. 

Anaïs is also completing a co-edited volume on the transcultural practice of artist Prafulla Mohanti (Indian born British based) The Dancing Hands: Life and Works of Prafulla Mohanti (forthcoming September 2022). 

Selected Publications

Co-Editor with Eva Bentcheva, The Dancing Hands: The Life and Works of Prafulla Mohanti. Pimlico Books (forthcoming September 2023). 

Paintings, Painters, and Patrons: Institutional Interventions in the Lives of Cheriyal Paintings. Asian Ethnology. 81. (2022): 125-148.

“Transformation at the Heart of Tradition: A History of the Institutionalisation of Craft in South Asia.” In Tradition or Trans/Formation? Craft, Practice and Discourse, edited by T. Sanathanan and A. Abdur-Rahman, 19-34. University of Jaffna, 2021. 

“Replication and Innovation in the Folk Narratives of Telangana: Scroll Paintings of the Markandeya Purana 1625-2000,” Manuscript Studies 4, no. 1 (2019): 112-133. 


Anaïs is currently teaching an MA course HART0124 Vision, Tourism, Imperialism, Art and Travel in the British Empire and a third-year BA course HART0107 Postcoloniality, Colonialism and Art in the British Empire