Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative will fund ROM research, exhibitions, public engagement, learning activities, and an endowed curatorship.
TORONTO, April 27, 2017– The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce it has received a gift of $5 million from entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan Mishra, which represents the largest donation to the Museum’s South Asian section. With this landmark gift, the Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative establishes a newly endowed curatorial position and sustainable funding for exhibitions, public engagement, research, and learning activities that will support and enhance the Museum’s commitment to South Asian art and culture.
Dan Mishra, who came to Canada from India as a student in 1969, has chosen to make the full donation this year. He sees the donation as “an opportunity to give back” to his adopted home. “Throughout its long history, South Asian art and culture has had an important influence on shaping our modern world,” says Mr. Mishra. “I am thrilled to support the ROM’s commitment to bringing a greater public understanding and appreciation of South Asian culture, and broadening the institution’s stewardship and expertise in this area.”
With 10,000 objects that encompass over 5,000 years, the ROM’s South Asian collection is one of the foremost in the Western world. The new curatorship and funding will allow the Museum to expand its current presentation of South Asian artifacts to more fully represent the diverse range of the region’s visual culture, develop thought-provoking exhibitions, public programs and learning activities—and engage in outreach within and beyond the South Asian communities.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to Dan Mishra for his visionary gift, which will have a lasting impact on the Museum and future generations of ROM visitors,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO. “The Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative represents a transformational opportunity to enhance the Museum’s research, exhibitions, public engagement, and learning activities. Through Dan’s generosity, the ROM will have the resources to build on its global reputation as a leading centre of scholarship in South Asian art and culture. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th year, I can think of no better gift than one that deepens the ties within the culturally diverse mosaic that defines Canada.”
The new Dan Mishra Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture will be held by Dr. Deepali Dewan, ROM’s Senior Curator, Department of World Cultures. Says Dr. Dewan: “Establishing a South Asian curatorial position that will continue in perpetuity highlights the Museum’s commitment to this cultural area, and enables one of North America’s leading museums to develop an ambitious and sustainable range of programming, research and educational activities around South Asian art and culture that reinforces the ROM’s position as a destination for visitors, researchers, academics and learners from around the world.”
Funding for the Dan Mishra Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture was generously matched by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust. The ROM and the ROM Governors thank Gary Weddel and Lisa Saunders, Trustees of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, for their ongoing support of the Museum.
Almost 20 years ago, families, individuals and organizations from the South Asian community came together to help the ROM create the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery, Canada’s first—and still only— permanent gallery of South Asian art. Their contributions also made it possible to partially endow the first Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture, establish an acquisition program and endow the Ancient Echoes/Modern Voices Programs Fund.