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Department of History of Art


Professor Singh was a leading scholar in the study of South Asia’s court painting and contemporary politics of collecting and museums. She served as the Dean at the School of Arts and Aesthetics of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, where she taught since 2001, and was distinguished for the energy she brought to her teaching and research. Despite battling advanced cancer, Professor Singh generously presented a lecture by video streaming titled ‘Endless Prospects: View From A Terrace in 18th Century Lucknow’ to the Cambridge community in April 2023, to mark her Slade Professorship. It was also broadcast live at her home institution of Jawaharlal Nehru University, so that our communities could celebrate her great work together. The  lecture was as compelling as it was insightful and is available as a recording so others may continue to learn from and enjoy it.

Dr Vivek Gupta, Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge, writes, “I was thrilled that Kavita was nominated for the honour of Slade Professor in Fine Art. It was a such a gift: Kavita changed my life and the lives of many other students and scholars, so it felt fortuitous that we could celebrate the recognition of her milestone together. I looked forward to discussing her thoughts on the world-class collections of South Asian and Islamic manuscripts and painting at Cambridge and I desperately wanted others to hear her too. I knew she would be able to inspire people here to look at objects differently.  I always left her lectures reminded of my love for painting and its ‘endless prospects,’ as she titled her Slade Lecture. Her endless prospects sustain me.”

Professor Alyce Mahon

Head of Department of History of Art