- Social and political history of art
- Maghrebian Modernisms
- Abstraction and Text
- Modernity and indigeneity
- Amazigh arts
- African anti-colonial thought and praxis
- Black and Indigenous methodologies
- Indigenous language sovereignty
BA, Fine Art, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK
MA, Contemporary Curating, University of Sunderland, UK
Sheyda Aisha Khaymaz is an artist, curator, poet, and PhD candidate at The University of Texas at Austin, specialising in the modern and contemporary art of the Maghrib. Their doctoral dissertation, Indigenous Presentness: Translocal Politics of Amazigh Art and Resistance, focuses on various expressions of Indigeneity in art and explores the nexus between Amazigh artistic production and language sovereignty movements across the Maghrib. The project theorises modern artistic forms, especially script-based abstraction, that draw on ancient sign-making practices, namely tattooing and rock-carving, as a consequence of anti-colonial demands and desires. Their research aims to connect modern-day instances of Tamazight language activism and revival movements with a larger discourse on Indigeneity and Africanity.
In 2016, they were awarded the Lim Ai Fang Art Prize in the Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize in the UK. They exhibited in Venice in April 2017 as one of the finalists in the sculpture and installation category of 11th Arte Laguna Prize. In 2018, they were awarded an artist’s residency at Tasarim Bakkali (TAB Gallery) in Istanbul, Turkey, which culminated in a solo exhibition entitled “Anthropological Conjectures: The Tale of Sitare”. Khaymaz’s most notable curatorial works include “Poly Voices” (Cobalt Studios, Newcastle, 2018), “A Study of Imaginary Chasms”, (Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle, 2018), “Dialogus” (Vane, Newcastle, 2017) and “Emerging!” (The Independent, Sunderland, 2016).
Khaymaz is a founding member of the curatorial collective and independent press, Lungs Project, which has been operating since 2016 between the UK and the USA, promoting a cross-disciplinary dialogue amongst early-career artists and writers. They are the co-editor and publisher of New Landscapes Anthology, a collection of emerging poetry by QTBIPOC poets, which released in 2019.