department of art & art history

FIne Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881 – 401.874.5821

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Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Annu sized
  • Professor of Art (Photography) and Director of the URI Center for the Humanities
  • Department of Art and Art History
  • Phone: 401.874.5700
  • Fax: 401.874.2729
  • Email:
  • Mailing Address: Swan Hall, Rm 175G
    60 Upper College Road
    Kingston, RI 02881


Annu Palakunnathu Matthew currently serves as a professor of photography at the University of Rhode Island as well as the director of the URI Center for the Humanities.

Born in England and raised in India, Matthew holds a B.Sc. in mathematics from the Women’s Christian College in Chennai. Her love for photography brought her to the United States where she earned her M.F.A. in photography at the University of Delaware in 1997. 

In addition to her tenure at URI, Matthew has enjoyed great personal success as a photographer. Her recent exhibitions include the RISD Museum, Newark Art Museum, Guangzhou Biennial of Photography, Tang Museum, N.Y., and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. In 2015, Matthew had a solo exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum of Art, Toronto, Canada.

Matthew’s work has been supported by numerous grants including a 2012 Fulbright fellowship, the inaugural SPE Future Focus Project support grant (2013), the John Gutmann fellowship, MacColl Johnson fellowship and several Rhode Island State Council of the Arts fellowships.

Her work has been reviewed by the New York Times, the New Yorker, the British Journal of Photography, the Village Voice, BBC World News, Buzzfeed, and CNN among others. Matthew’s work is also included in the book BLINK from Phaidon Press, Self-Portraits and Home Truths: Motherhood, Photography and Loss by Susan Bright, and The Digital Eye by Sylvia Wolf.  A 2014 book of her work Memories of India with an essay by New York Times art critic Vicki Goldberg is available from Blue Sky Books.

Matthew is represented by sepiaEYE, New York City.


Matthew’s photo-based work often uses familiar imagery like the family photograph as a source of inspiration. For Matthew, the family photograph is a productive site from which to explore the larger dynamics of national identity, collective memory, and social transformation. (From essay by curator Dr. Deepali Dewan, Royal Ontario Museum.)


  • M.F.A. in photography, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, M.F.A., 1997
  • B.Sc. in mathematics, University of Madras, Chennai, India, 1986

Solo Exhibitions (2015)

Generations – Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

Generations – Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, sepiaEYE, New York city, NY

Solo Exhibitions (2014)

Memória, OÁ Galeria - Arte Contemporânea, Vittoria, Brazil

Bollywood Satirized, Watson Center, Brown University, Providence RI

Group Exhibitions (2014)

Beyond Bollywood Indian-Americans Shape the Nation, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC

The Blue Sky Gallery at 40, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR

Self, Model, and Self as Other, The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX

Personal website:

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