Faculty Co-Director
Atreyee Gupta

Assistant Professor, History of Art Department, Atreyee Gupta’s area of specialization is global modernisms and contemporary art, with a special emphasis on South and Southeast Asia and its diaspora. Her research and teaching interests cluster around visual and intellectual histories of twentieth-century art; the intersections between the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement, and art after 1945; new media and experimental cinema; and the question of the global more broadly. Gupta is presently completing a monograph on abstraction in interwar and postwar painting, sculpture, photography, and experimental film in South Asia. 

Faculty Co-Director
Asma Kazmi

Asma Kazmi is an assistant professor in the Department of Art Practice and the Berkeley Center for New Media at UC Berkeley. She is a research-based artist who combines virtual and material objects to explore simultaneity — a tug of more than one time and place. Her work involves long-term engagement with cities, architecture, plants, animals, stones, and other matter to locate vestiges of relations forged by the legacies of colonialism and post-colonial contexts. Combining visual and textual detritus from western and non-western historical manuscripts, photographs, archival material, fragments of locations, and mixing them with her own fabulations, Kazmi tells intertwining stories about Islam, Muslim culture, complex trade routes, global flows of people and commodities, labor, colonial and indigenous knowledge systems, and interspecies entanglements.

Dipti Mathur

Dipti Mathur is a collector of modern and contemporary South Asian art. Her ongoing interests lie in working with institutions in the US to promote a broader cross-cultural understanding and study of contemporary Indian art. She has served on the Board of Trustees and Collection Committees of several museums, and Chairs the South Asia Art Initiative at UC Berkeley, and the Arts Council of the South Asia Institute at Harvard University. She is a founding member of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium, San Francisco.

Raj and Helen Desai

Raj and Helen Desai are long-time friends and supporters of the Institute for South Asia Studies. Helen Crane Desai is an alumnus of the Department of History of Art (BA 1952, MA 1954) and  Raj Desai, did his MS in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. They are active board members of the California Institute of Integral Studies, and both are devoted leaders and members of a wide range of Indian-American and Asian-American arts and cultural organizations, as well as with several environmental and civil liberties organizations. Other projects include the PT&T Building in Oakland, Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, the Valley Bank office building in Reno, remodel of the Rincon Post Office Heritage Building in San Francisco and a range of multi-story, ductile concrete moment frame office buildings and steel buildings in the city, San Jose and across California.

Renu Agrawal

Renu Agrawal has over 25 years of experience in growing companies and transforming business models.  She is on the Board of Luther Burbank Corporation and a member of their audit and risk committee.  She has held several leadership positions, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Wells Fargo’s Financial Institutions Group. Prior to that, she oversaw Wells Fargo’s International Treasury Management business and played a leadership role in the Wells Fargo-Wachovia merger. Earlier, Renu was Chief Operating Officer at ValleyCrest Companies and Quisic Corporation. She began her career as a scientist at Polaroid and worked at McKinsey & Company for several years.  Renu is a founding member of Neythri, a global community of South Asia professional women committed to helping each other succeed. In 2019, she received the National Asian Pacific American Corporate Achievement Award. Ms. Agrawal holds an M.B.A. from MIT Sloan School of Management and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT. She graduated with a B.Tech in Metallurgy from IIT, Kanpur.

Kaushie Adiseshan and Anand Rajaraman

Anand Rajaraman is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and an academic based in Silicon Valley. Anand is a Founding Partner at Rocketship.vc, a global venture capital firm that has backed many high-growth startups all over the world. Prior to starting Rocketship, he was Senior Vice President at Walmart Global eCommerce, where he co-headed @WalmartLabs, focused at the intersection of social, mobile, and commerce. Anand was also a Founding Partner of Cambrian Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and has backed iconic Silicon Valley companies including Facebook and Lyft.

In 1996, Anand co-founded Junglee, an e-commerce pioneer that was acquired by Amazon. He helped launch the transformation of Amazon.com from a retailer into a retail platform, enabling third-party retailers to sell on Amazon.com's website. He has also been active in academia, where his research publications have won many prestigious awards. His textbook “Mining of Massive Datasets,” co-authored with Jeff Ullman and Jure Leskovec of Stanford University, has over a million downloads and has been translated into several languages.

Minal Vazirani

Minal Vazirani founded Saffronart in 2000, and has been instrumental in growing its operations from startup to its current position. In addition, Vazirani has curated, planned and organized exhibitions of Indian art in India and internationally. She is a regular panelist and guest speaker at Indian contemporary art events as an industry expert, and has served several industry organizations. She has been on the board of advisors to the Friends of Sir JJ School of Art Trust and Time Out magazine India, and has co-chaired the FICCI committee on Arts and Business. Minal has been featured in Art + Auction magazine’s global power issue, and been a fellow at the Aspen Institute’s India leadership program. In 2005, Vazirani led a review of Saffronart’s business when the Harvard Business School published a case study on the company. It continues to be studied by MBA students across business schools.

Nita Goyal and Ashish Gupta

Dr. Nita Goyal works at Google Research applying AI to climate solutions. Over the past decade, she has worked at Google across research and products in natural language, search and maps. Previously she has been a serial entrepreneur and tech executive with experience in silicon valley and India. She was co-founder and VP at Tavant Technologies for 8 years building pricing solutions for large manufacturers and lenders in the US. She was also SVP Products at NGPay, a pioneer in mobile commerce in India. She started her career as a research engineer at HP labs after getting a PhD in CS (AI) from Stanford University and a BTech (CS) from IIT Kanpur. She is the first woman CS graduate across all IITs.