Asha Iman Veal

Associate Curator

Asha Iman Veal is Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Her recent large-scale exhibitions Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part (2022) and LOVE: Still Not the Lesser (2023) brought together cross-diasporic conversations between global artists Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Cog•nate Collective, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, Damon Locks, Ngadi Smart, and more; and celebrations of love and desire by Jorian Charlton, Jess T. Dugan, Mous Lamrabat, and more. 

Her Chicago Architecture Biennial 2021 partner program and exhibition, RAISIN (vol. 1), commissioned several new artworks and generated community among more than 35 global artists, including Işıl Eğrikavuk, Amanda Williams, and Tintin Wulia. She has additionally curated significant exhibitions for the Hyde Park Art Center, Sullivan Galleries, LATITUDE Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, MSU Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum by Zaha Hadid, and more. 

Veal has been an invited guest lecturer and panelist for international cultural institutions such as GRAIN Projects UK, Pakhuis de Zwijger Amsterdam, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago, Humanity In Action – Netherlands, San Diego State University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and more. She has been invited as a distinguished jury reviewer for awards and residencies, including the East African Photography Awards, Earth Photo Award by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society, Terra Foundation/American Academy in Rome, Visual Studies Workshop NY, University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, Arts Work Fund Chicago, HARPO Foundation, and more. She has been an invited portfolio reviewer and crit panelist for the FORMAT International Photography Festival UK, Rencontres d’Arles France, FotoFest Houston, Belfast Photo Festival, University of Chicago DOVA, RISDI, Chicago Artist Coalition, and others.

Additionally, Veal bridges interdisciplinary relationships between the arts, government, corporate and nonprofit sectors through her role as a Senior Fellow of Humanity in Action (EU/UK/US), member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network (Global Table), and a Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leader. She is a board member of Filter Photo (Chicago), and was a recent board member of Experimental Sound Studio and Audible Gallery. She is active in the ORACLE Conference of International Photography Curators, and Independent Curators International – Curatorial Forum and Chicago Assembly (2023 cohorts). 

Asha Iman began her career as the VOTE campaign staff and as a festival producer for playwright Eve Ensler’s V-Day global movement to end violence against women and girls (New York). She has separately organized and worked on a number of other projects and/or arts research since 2004, in New York, Tokyo, Havana, Vietnam, Edinburgh, Darby/London, Berlin, Juárez, and Chicago; and held staff roles in New York and Chicago.

Throughout her present tenure at MoCP, she introduced an array of new acquisitions into the collection, including works by Xyza Cruz Bacani, Jorian Charlton, Jessica Chou, Jess T. Dugan, Işıl Eğrikavuk, Citlali Fabian, Sunil Gupta, Martine Gutierrez, Hassan Hajjaj, Mari Katayama, Kierah KIKI King, Mous Lamrabat, Farah Salem, ​Ngadi Smart, Yuge Zhou, and more. Her additional MoCP exhibitions include Shore/Lines by Regina Agu (2025), Shift (co-curator 2023), and Martine Gutierrez (2021).

(BA, New York University Gallatin School; MFA, The New School, Creative Writing; MA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago)