Defne Ayas is currently the curator-at-large at the VAC Foundation in Moscow as well as Artistic Director of the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2020. 

Prior to this, Ayas served as the Director of Witte De With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam from 2012 until 2017. She was also a director of Arthub Asia, a former Prince Claus Fund Network Partner, curator of the Pavillion of Turkey at the 56th Venice Biennale, co-curator of the 6th Moscow Biennale, co-curator of the 11th Baltic Triennale, and curator of Performa, New York’s visual art performance biennale in its first four editions. 

Ayas holds a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MPS from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Ayas also completed the de Appel curatorial programme in Amsterdam.