Art in Public Spaces


With the growing prominence of arts awareness in India and an increasing call for civic responsibility in metropolises around the world, the role and position of public art has been brought to the mainstream with renewed force. The attention received by the recent opening of the public art programme at Mumbai International Airport’s Terminal 2 exemplifies art that has been incorporated by design into a public space. Our speakers will consider the potential engagement between traditional art establishments, such as museums, galleries, and educational institutions, versus the public art medium, and how this changing dynamic offers a new way to think about India’s artistic culture and heritage.

Rajeev Sethi is one of South Asia’s leading designers and is noted internationally for his innovative contribution to preserving and celebrating the subcontinent’s rich cultural heritage. For more than 35 years, through his work in architecture, performances, festivals, and publication, he has identified ways to bring contemporary relevance to traditional skills of artisan communities and creative professionals. Sethi has designed and curated award-winning exhibitions and events in Asia, Europe, Canada and America, for the United Nations and various international institutions. Among his on-going projects are directing the Art Programme for the new Terminal 2 at the Mumbai International Airport and the Hyatt Chennai Art Collection. Sethi was awarded the Sanskriti Award for outstanding social and cultural achievement in 1980, the Padma Bhushan in 1985 and the first Indira Gandhi Life Time Achievement Award for conservation by INTACH in 2010.

Dr. Vishakha Desai is President Emerita of Asia Society and an Independent Director at Mahindra & Mahindra. She serves as Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and is a Professor at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She previously served as Asia Society's Senior Vice President of Museum and Cultural Programmes, President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and Head of Public Programmes and Academic Affairs at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She is widely recognized as a leader in the museum field for developing dynamic presentations of contemporary works by Asian and Asian American artists and for conceiving innovative exhibitions of traditional Asian art within strong cultural contexts. Dr. Desai has also taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, and Williams College.

This programme is part of our AsiaLens series, which presents an array of perspectives on the visual and performing arts of modern Asia, offering a vibrant and nuanced view across the continent. Previous events under this series include a behind-the-scenes tour of the CSMVS Conservation Centre with Anupam Sah, a lecture with Dr. Sugata Bose on the paintings of Rabindranath Tagore and Commerce and Culture from Canton to Bombay.

This programme is in partnership with the NGMA Mumbai, and a concluding celebration of the Across Oceans and Flowing Silks: From Canton to Bombay 18th-20th Centuries and No Parsi Is an Island exhibitions.


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Event Details

Thu 13 Feb 2014
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
National Gallery of Modern Art Auditorium, Mumbai
Priority for Asia Society Members. RSVP required to:
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