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Prof. Rajeev Lochan 

by Yuriko Lochan

In this issue, I would like to introduce my husband, Professor Rajeev Lochan, presently the Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi, who is an artist and an academician. After teaching at various Universities and institutions for more than 20 years, Professor Lochan assumed office as director in March 2001. Ever since, the NGMA has increasingly drawn attention not only in the art society in India but also in various countries around the world.

" I am basically an artist and a teacher who has transformed into the director of a museum, and my 20 years of teaching experience and scholarly activities has enabled me to view things with an open mind. Actually, I believe that my position as the director of a museum provides me a dream opportunity to work with art in a wide spectrum. Art has various diverse facets and attitudes….functional, thematic, conceptual and so on…. it is difficult for someone who belongs to one particular discipline to fully understand each respective facet and its inter-dependence. But for me, right now, the functional role of art is managed as the director of a museum, the thematic part is understood well as an academician, and the conceptual attitude of art is comprehend well as an artist.”

“In association with the Picasso Museum in Paris, NGMA held an exhibition of the works of Picasso titled ' Metamorphosis 1900 -1972 ' in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2001. I believe this exhibition provided a first hand opportunity to witness and appreciate the works and the life of an internationally known artist. It showcased a wide variety of works executed in various medium, displayed on a magnificent scale and associated with various cultural programs and events during the exhibition.”

Following the above exhibition, the NGMA has been planning and holding several retrospective exhibitions of artists of this country who have played an important role in the development of modern and contemporary Indian art. These exhibitions provide the Indian public with a wonderful opportunity of a glimpse into the formative and developmental period of their own culture. Large -scale retrospective exhibitions can provide a total insight into the works and life of an artist. It is difficult to achieve this desired quality by exhibitions mounted by commercially motivated and privately managed art galleries.

Our museum houses a collection of around 17.000 works of art. They comprise from the period that traces the development and transformation in the society of the country. In the past, this museum had only organized exhibitions from its permanent collections and that of other art museums and private galleries. However, perceptively compiled exhibitions from the collection of this museum could also be extremely meaningful in their aim. It would provide the opportunity to review the changing patterns of aesthetical appreciation through the formative period of the social changes in the country.

Presently, a new extension building of the NGMA is under construction. I would like this building to be fully equipped with facilities and spaces as comparable to those international museums of repute around the world. When operational, I am confident that the existing concept of museums of India would achieve a newly improved and significant status and would provide a more active and interactive environment. There are plans for exchange of exhibitions with other international museums around the world.

The immense potential of Indian culture derives itself from the large cross-section of the cultural diversity of this region. Aesthetical options have been based on a large variety of cultural concepts such as traditional, modern and western. This ingenious quality can be viewed strongly in modern/contemporary Indian art, which expresses its strong originality. I think this would raise several questions … how has Indian art significantly been contributing to the art of mankind and also that of humanity, and how does it contribute to the contemporary world.

I have regarded Japan as a kind of a role model. Both India and Japan have rich traditions derived from a deeper insight into life, contrary to the western tradition which formulated its cultural values based on understanding the physicality of nature. I am afraid that both India and Japan are losing the genuine quality of their traditions, blindly giving importance to functionality and convenience of life. Evolution does not mean a process of losing one’s identity. Tradition has to be passed on to the next generation in a living form, and not merely stored as a relic in the precincts of a museum.

Copyright © 2007
Copyright © 2007, Yuriko Lochan    |    Site by: Cross Section