Sonya Rhie Quintanilla began as the George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art in September 2012. Having reinstalled the Indian and Southeast Asian collection in December 2013, she continues to develop the collections. Drawing upon the strengths of our holdings in her area of research, she is responsible for teaching and publishing, as well as conceiving and implementing exhibitions.
Quintanilla joined the museum after serving for eight years as Curator of Asian Art at The San Diego Museum of Art. In addition to curating special exhibitions in San Diego on Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Himalayan, Southeast Asian, and Islamic art Sonya installed their expanded Asian permanent collection galleries, featuring the Edwin Binney 3rd collection of Indian paintings. She also taught Indian and Tibetan art history at UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC San Diego.
Sonya began her wok at The San Diego Museum of Art in 2004. During her tenure there, Sonya curated the groundbreaking exhibition Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose, which involved a partnership with the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and was also shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2008. Her exhibition Into India: South Asian Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art was on view at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art in Madrid through May 20, 2012.
Quintanilla completed her PhD at Harvard University where her dissertation focused on early Indian sculpture. The book that grew out of this work, History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura, ca. 150 BCE–100 CE (Brill 2007), provides the first comprehensive analysis and chronology of the earliest known stone sculptures from an ancient cosmopolitan center in north India.