The Polish Institute of World Art Studies in Warsaw was established in 2011, when the Polish Society of Oriental Art merged with the Society of Modern Art in Torun.
A newly created organisation combines the features of a research centre and a society. It gathers art historians, conservators of art works, architects, ethnologists, theatre researchers interested in art trespassing traditional 19th-century Western European canons.
Institute’s activities are based on a conviction that it is necessary to study diverse forms of artistic expression, which manifest themselves in world cultures, both in art originating from developed aesthetical systems and in art being an expression of tribal, folk and unprofessional work.
Its activity started in 2000, when the Society of Modern Art was established. The society, together with the Department of History of Modern Art in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Nicolaus Copernicus University, started to organize scientific conferences and to publish series of publications – devoted to modern art in Poland, and later on in Central and Eastern Europe – in Warsaw and Torun publishing houses.
In 2006, the Polish Society of Oriental Art was established in Warsaw, with branches in Krakow, Torun and Warsaw. Before that, in 2002, the Section of Oriental Art at Nicolaus Copernicus University was brought into being. Together with newly created Chair of History of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, they started to organize conferences and publish scientific papers. At the beginning, the society focused on the art of Asia; gradually, according to the expectations of academic circles, it broadened the scope of its activity, covering the research on African art, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art, the art of national minorities of Poland and Central-Eastern Europe (Armenians, Tatars, Jews). In 2007, the Section of Central- and South-American Art was established. In June 2011, the Polish Society of Oriental Art merged with the Society of Modern Art in Torun, creating the Polish Institute of World Art Studies.
According to its statute, the Institute does and supports research, publishes periodicals and book series, cooperates with foreign universities, museums, societies and research centers. It also organizes international conferences and all-Poland seminars.