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Dina Bangdel. Photo: the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

Dina Bangdel (1964–2017)

Art historian Dina Bangdel, who specialized in South Asian and Himalayan art, passed away in the United States on Tuesday, July 25, at the age of fifty-four. According to the Kathmandu Post, the scholar died of meningitis, which she contracted after undergoing surgery for sinusitis in March.

Bangdel was the director of the art history department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, which she originally joined as an assistant professor of art history in 2005. After earning tenure and a promotion to associate professor, Bangdel was appointed head of the program in 2012.

Her curatorial work often focused on the ritual performance and identity politics of Buddhist art in South Asia. She was also interested in issues of gender and identity in South Asian contemporary art and film. Among the numerous exhibitions Bangdel curated throughout her career are “Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2003), which was a finalist for the Alfred Barr Award for best exhibition catalogue; “Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam” at the Rubin Museum, New York (2010); and “Prakriti Speaks: Contemporary Nepali Art in Mumbai” (2011).

“Dina will be very much missed as a scholar, teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, mother, and wife,” VCUQatar said in a statement. “Her dedicated and loving spirit was an inspiration to all of us.”

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