Ariella Aïsha Azoulay
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (1962) is an independent curator, writer, filmmaker, and Professor of Modern Culture and Media in the department of Comparative Literature and at Brown University.
An expert in visual culture and photography, Azoulay focuses her research on how history is told through visual mediums — photographs, film, drawings, and other visual elements — and how these provide a level of detail and context not provided solely by the written word
Her recent film Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (2020) proposes that there is a direct connection between the objects in European museums that were stolen or unfairly acquired under colonial circumstances and the asylum seekers from those same countries trying to enter Europe today. Whereas the objects are meticulously preserved and documented, the people forced to migrate from their looted homelands are referred to as “un-documented” by border control authorities and denied entry. The film proposes that these objects are those people’s documents and argues for their right to be reunited with them.
Azoulay has also written a number of books, such as Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019); Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (2012); From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950 (2011); and The Civil Contract of Photography (2008).