Part-time Faculty, Art History
Lara Ayad teaches surveys of the arts of Africa, ranging from the prehistoric rock art of southern Algeria, to medieval bronze plaques of the royal Benin court, to multimedia installations by contemporary South African artists. Her research interests include 20th century fine art education and avant-garde movements of Africa, with a special focus on Egyptian painters of the 1930s and 1940s. Ayad’s approach to modern Egyptian art is unique because she analyzes its development within an African context, considering Egypt’s cultural and political relationships with Sudan, Ethiopia, and other neighboring African nations. She is an active member of the African Studies Center at Boston University, and has participated in a number of conferences in the humanities, art history, and African studies, including: the Arts Council of the African Studies Association’s first panel on North Africa; the African Studies Center’s Annual Graduate Student Conference, the New York School of Visual Arts, and the “Nostalgia” lecture series at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo.
In recent years Ayad has worked one-on-one with contemporary Egyptian curators and artists in Cairo at the Sharjah Art Gallery (American University). She was also an assistant instructor in the Computer Learning Centers Partnership, an after-school program for under-served children in the Washington D.C. area. Ayad has a vested interest in art historical pedagogy, including making art history accessible to American elementary and high school students. She has received numerous awards and scholarships, including Boston University’s Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship for her dissertation research in Egypt, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for her extensive Arabic language studies in Boston and Cairo, the Art History Project award for cataloguing, restoring, and researching plaster casts of ancient sculptures donated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a Summer study abroad program in Dakar, Senegal.
Other studies and interests include feminism and Women’s Studies, the art histories of ancient Egypt, pre-colonial South Asia, contemporary North American art, Islamic art and architecture, and issues of authenticity, racial identity, psychology, and sexuality in modern and contemporary art.