Four representatives from the Smithsonian Institution, US, and 15 artists, designers, journalists and humanitarians from Pakistan, the US and the UK were in Mumbai on Thursday to view the art at the city’s showcase T2 and at the residence of a private collector.
The visit was planned by curator Rajeev Sethi, founder and chairman of The Asian Heritage Foundation, and was the first step in the planning of a mega art and culture event built around south Asian art. The event is scheduled for 2018 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, one of the largest museums and research complexes in the world. The event will then travel to different parts of the world.
The project, titled Sasian Journey, and helmed by Sethi, proposes to create a single international platform for India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the Maldives to collaborate and reposition themselves in the world.
“South Asian countries, though among the poorest, are known to be the most militarised,” says Sethi. “But these countries have rich culture, art, heritage and traditional knowledge. These should be highlighted. This project aspires to make this a friendlier neighbourhood. I have always believed that art and culture can do what politics can’t.”
The delegates will next head to Ahmedabad to meet members of NGO SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), visit their community museum and meet local artisans, and then head to the Lotus Bazaar, an exhibition of 40 design-led initiatives from across south Asia, in Delhi.
Among the other attendees of the ideation initiative are Pakistani publisher and museum trustee Hameed Haroon, British designer Zandra Rhodes, author William Dalrymple, Indian designer Ritu Kumar and environmentalist and activist Vandana Shiva.