Welcome to The Museum of Art & Photography Foundation, Inc. – a new initiative established in 2017 to foster cultural collaboration between the United States of America and India through the visual arts of the Indian subcontinent, with special emphases on the sharing of exhibitions, art education, and conservation.
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
The primary means by which the Foundation will achieve its goals is through the establishment of the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), a new cultural institution scheduled to open in Bangalore, South India, in 2020. However, its mission is also to support American institutions in their efforts to present exhibitions, the loaning of art objects, and educational programming related to Indian art and culture in order to heighten an appreciation of India’s creative legacy among American audiences.
The Foundation is currently led by a board of six trustees (see below), each bringing their expertise in fields ranging from commerce and diplomacy—in tandem with their backgrounds in art and museology—to the benefit of its programs, financial objectives, and strategic planning. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees will guide the activities and programs of MAP in the United States, and is an independent entity from MAP’s Board of Trustees and governance in India.
This website provides information on the MAP Foundation in the United States. To learn more about MAP in India, including its collections, current educational programming, progress on the Museum’s construction, and other initiatives to which the Foundation contributes its support, please visit www.map-india.org
AMERICAN MUSEUMS & INDIA
Similar to the princely collections of Europe, during India’s pre-colonial past its extraordinary artistic creativity was patronized and collected by Mughal emperors, nawabs, and Hindu maharajas. These efforts formed the basis of great palatial collections. In the 19th century, as most of India fell under colonial rule, the British established the first Indian museum, primarily founded upon their vision and categorizations of Indian art. After Independence in 1947, it was actually an American, the renowned museum director and museologist Grace Louise McCann Morley (1900–1985), who worked alongside Prime Minister Nehru to create the premiere major national art museum in India. She was to become its founding director. In addition to Morley, MAP shares another kindred link with the museums of America – for many of the greatest art museums were spearheaded as private institutions and through the benevolence of individual collectors, such as Henry Clay Frick, Peggy Guggenheim, J.P. Morgan, and Avery Brundage.
MAP now wishes to continue these pioneering bonds between the countries of India and the United States through the sharing of its artistic legacy, forging strong collaborative undertakings such as an inaugural major exhibition of Indian art presented in both countries; the exhibiting of American collections of Indian art in India; co-curatorship of MAP exhibitions by emerging American and Indian art scholars; joint interpretative and educational programming; publications for diverse readers, ranging from school children to scholars; and the partnering of art conservation methods and resources. Most significantly, in the spirit of Grace Morley, we welcome the opportunity to tell the story of Indian culture, now through the most contemporary and innovative methods, to its custodians—the people of India—and ensure that this narrative will continue for generations to come.
More than 70 years after Indian independence, and as a 21st -century phenomenon, MAP will represent a true cultural reciprocity between the two nations. While welcoming American museums’ expertise in conservation and museology, MAP reciprocates by serving as a “cultural diplomat” in the United States, encouraging a greater appreciation of one of this earth’s oldest and long-enduring civilizations and now a diverse country representing the world’s largest democracy on earth and the second-most populous nation.
SUPPORTING THE MAP FOUNDATION
The Foundation is registered as a charitable corporation under chapter 180 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and under the Section 501(c)(3) by the United States Internal Revenue Code and is exempt to the greatest extent permitted by law from federal income tax under IRC section 501 (3) c. Its Trustees govern the Foundation in accordance with its Articles of Association and Bylaws. Contributions to the Foundation will be initially used in support of the building of the Museum in Bangalore as well as the initial planning and implementation of shared programming between MAP and cultural institutions in the United States.
The Foundation also welcomes—and will appropriately acknowledge in accordance with the United States Internal Revenue Code—donations of works on behalf of the Museum of Art and Photography. Through this gesture of repatriation the Museum will be able to grow and expand its collections to ensure that it will be encyclopedic in its representation of all aspects, mediums, and epochs of Indian art.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
MAP FOUNDATION, INC.
Dr. Mukesh Aghi
Mukesh Aghi serves as President of the United States-India Strategic Partnership Forum and has extensive experience working with business and government leaders in the United States and India in the strengthening of ties between the two countries. Previously, he served as Chief Executive and Member of the Board at Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd., Chairman and CEO of the Asia-Pacific region at Steria, Inc. (India), and as President of IBM India. Aghi holds several degrees including an advanced management diploma from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in international relations from Claremont Graduate University. He has been recognized by Esquire Magazine as a Global Leader and won many awards over the course of his professional career, including the JRD Tata Leadership Award.
Deepanjana Klein is the International Head of the Department for Contemporary Indian & Southeast Asian Art at Christie’s. Previous to this position she was an independent curator in New York City, where she curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary Indian art. Klein has taught art history, theory, and aesthetics at the Leicester School of Architecture in England and at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies in Mumbai. She also regularly writes on contemporary Indian art for various journals, and was one of the five women chosen as the Power 2016: High-Wattage Women by Blouin Art & Auction.
Abhishek Poddar is the founder of MAP and a prominent collector and patron of the arts in India. Poddar is involved in various family group companies with diverse interests and also serves on the advisory committees of several cultural institutions including the Deccan Heritage Foundation and FIND (Foundation Inde-Europe de Nouveaux Dialogues or the India-Europe Foundation for New Dialogues) headquartered in Rome.
Nirupama Rao is the former Indian Foreign Secretary (2009–2011) and Ambassador of India to the United States of America (2011-2013). Working in the Indian Foreign Service from 1973 to 2011, she has served in various capacities in several countries across the world, and was the first woman to be appointed as the Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Ambassador to China. Mrs. Rao has been a fellow at Harvard University and Brown University. In 2014, she received the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, in connection with her ongoing book project on the diplomatic history of relations between India and China. Ambassador Rao is also a trustee of MAP in Bangalore.
Dr. Gursharan Singh Sidhu
Dr. Gursharan S. Sidhu holds degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Madras) and Stanford University. After a long career in academia and the technological sector (Apple Inc. and Microsoft), he now focuses on his passion for the arts of India. He and his wife collect traditional and vernacular paintings from India and art from Mexico.
Dr. Sidhu was formerly Co-Chairman of the Board of the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries and is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Seattle Art Museum as well as the Acquisitions Committee of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
Susan Whitehead is Vice Chair and life board member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. In addition to being a lifetime trustee of MIT, she currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Berklee College of Music, and on the boards of the Museum of Science in Boston and Horizons for Homeless Children. She is also the former Chair of Horizons for Homeless Children, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Bayview Correctional Facility in NYC, and Whitehead Institute. Previously a trial attorney in Boston, Whitehead also has experience as an assistant district attorney in New York City and directed a clinical program at Brooklyn Law School. She has had a lifelong passion for the visual arts, particularly photography.
MAP’S US REPRESENTATIVE
Dr. Cecelia Levin
Cecelia Levin is an arts administrator and art historian specializing in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia. Her career has spanned the teaching of Asian art history at several universities as well the holding of curatorial and research positions in the Department of Asian Art of Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Asia Society, Inc., the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She currently serves as an associate in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University.
Over the years Dr. Levin has curated numerous art exhibitions and been involved in major traveling exhibitions on an international level. As the Director of the Festival of Indonesia Foundation, she was instrumental in the development of arts and cultural programming for an eighteen-month long nationwide celebration of Indonesian culture via a collaborative global effort between academic institutions, museums, arts organizations, and governmental agencies, and was successful in acquiring the underwriting for these programs. The recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, she has written on a broad array of topics related to Asian art and contemporary art, especially enabling her to share her expertise in the modes of visual narration of the Ramayana in South and Southeast Asia. As the US Representative of The Museum of Art and Photography Foundation, Dr. Levin serves as a liaison to American museums and cultural institutions in the development and implementation of collaborative exhibitions and programming and works to achieve sponsorship for the Foundation’s goals.
FORGING PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS
THROUGH THE MAP COLLECTIONS
MAP is custodian to a series of growing collections currently comprised of more than 15,000 artworks, predominantly from the Indian subcontinent and dating from the 12th century to the present. The collections are organized in six key departments: Modern & Contemporary Art, Photography, Traditional & Ethnic Art, Popular Culture, Textiles, Craft & Design, and Pre-Modern Art. These collections form the nucleus of the Museum’s exhibitions, and are also available to researchers and for loan from qualifying institutions and museums, both in India and abroad.
MAP has been actively building an art loan program for local, national, and international institutions and welcomes expanding it to museums and cultural institutions in the United States. In recent years objects from the MAP collections have formed part of exhibitions in several museums including the Tate (London), Indian Heritage Centre (Singapore) and the National Museum (Bahrain).
More information on MAP’s collections and its loans program can be found on the Museum’s website: map-india.org
We welcome—and are appreciative of—all forms of support of the Foundation and its activities. Should you wish to learn more about the MAP Foundation, please contact us using this form below, or by reaching out to MAP's US Representative, Cecelia Levin, at the Foundation’s American office: