Professor Arabindan-Kesson specializes in African American, Caribbean, and British Art, with an emphasis on histories of race, empire, and transatlantic visual culture in the long 19th century. An international upbringing and interdisciplinary training in the fields of African American studies and art history have shaped her intellectual formation. Consequently her research focuses on processes of cultural exchange and geographical movement, underpinned by histories of colonialism and the legacies of these encounters in contemporary art practice. Her work has been supported by several fellowships, including from the Huntington Library; the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art; Winterthur Library, Museum and Gardens; the Terra Foundation for American Art; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Professor Arabindan-Kesson has a joint appointment in the Department of African American Studies and is a faculty fellow at Wilson College. In addition to presenting at domestic and international conferences and symposiums, she has delivered public museum lectures and has appeared in the media. She serves on the board of advisors for the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia and the arts space NLS Kingston in Jamaica. She has been involved in curating several exhibitions, including the 2009 traveling exhibition Embodied: Black Identities in American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery and Barkley L. Hendricks: Oh Snap! (2015) for Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia. Professor Arabindan-Kesson has published articles and reviews on contemporary African fashion and African American artists and modernism. Her chapter on cultural exchange between New England and Zanzibar appeared in the book Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England (University Press of New England, 2014). Another chapter, on photography and South Asian identity in Jamaica, is forthcoming in Victorian Jamaica (Duke University Press). Professor Arabindan-Kesson has also written for international art and fashion publications in Europe and Australia.