Ayesha Matthan has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from St. Stephen's College, Delhi and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Subsequently, she was a journalist with The Hindu MetroPlus in Bangalore, covering the arts and culture.
Ayesha returned to the capital for a Master’s degree in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, followed by an MPhil degree in Visual Studies. Her MPhil thesis “From Courts, Studios to Bazaars: A Visual History of the Tawai'f in Colonial North India, Late 18th to early 20th Centuries”, explored the tawa’if’s visual trajectory over a century and a half in court paintings, studio photographs, and matchbox labels in Awadh and Delhi.
Ayesha worked as a Research Scholar at The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi, contributing to research, writing, editorial coordination and curatorial assistance. She was a recipient of the Brooks International Fellowship with Tate Britain and Delfina Foundation in 2014. Her publications include “Lens Upon Islanders” in Imaging the Isle Across—Vintage Photography from Ceylon (Alkazi Collection of Photography and National Museum, New Delhi, 2015); “Woman or Goddess” in Indian Divine: Gods and Goddesses in 19th and 20th Century Indian Art (Ed. Kishore Singh, Delhi Art Gallery, 2014) and has presented papers at Tate Britain, London; Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge; and College Art Association, New York.
Her academic interests lie at the intersection(s) of gender, space, art, colonial history, literature as well as society, urban and popular culture.