Assistant Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Emma Natalya Stein joined the Freer and Sackler as curatorial fellow for Southeast Asian art after completing her PhD in the History of Art at Yale University (2017). Her research centers on the relationship between sacred architecture and tropical landscapes in premodern South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on mapping sacred and urban space. She has organized the installations Power in Southeast Asia in the Sackler and Gods, Companions, and Devotees in the Freer for the museum’s reopening in 2017. Her exhibition Prehistoric Spirals: Earthenwares from Thailand opens in April 2020.
Stein has also created a robust online resource for Southeast Asia that connects objects in the Freer and Sackler collections with the landscapes and cultures where they originate. The website features an interactive map of sacred sites based on her decade of fieldwork in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka. She frequently presents aspects of her research and the museum collections at institutions in Asia, Europe, and the United States.