ROM - Royal Ontario Museum

11/22/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/22/2017 13:46

ROM Launches New South Asia Lecture

ROM Launches New South Asia Lecture

Event features Mumbai-based journalist Sidharth Bhatia and Ontario-based artist Panchal Mansaram

TORONTO, November 20, 2017- On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will launch its first annual South Asia Lecture featuring a thought-provoking presentation by Mumbai-based journalist and founding editor of The Wire Sidharth Bhatia, and Canadian mixed-media artist Panchal Mansaram, whose work has recently been acquired by the Museum.

The inaugural event features a lecture on Art, Culture and Journalism by Sidharth Bhatia followed by a conversation between the journalist and artist Panchal Mansaram, moderated by Dr. Deepali Dewan, Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture. The evening will also include a short documentary screening that highlights the 50-year career of Mansaram to mark the Museum's recent acquisition of more than 700 of his works for its permanent collection.

Bhatia's keynote lecture examines the role of culture and journalism in India and the world today and its influence on modern society. Says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO, 'We're very pleased to be launching the annual South Asian lecture, which builds on the ROM's position as a centre of scholarship and expertise, and deepens our ties with the South Asian community. With these lectures, ROM brings important voices in art and culture to the stage and fresh perspectives to timely issues that shape the world we live in.' This lecture series aims to bring a cultural innovator from the South Asia region to Canada each year. South Asia is one of the most rapidly changing and growing regions in the world today.

The recent acquisition of Mansaram's archive makes the Museum home to the most complete catalogue of the artist's work that is based in the technique of collage. This includes large-scale paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, fabric works, and computer manipulations. The archive also includes a collection of source material such as popular and folk art from India. Having migrated with his family to Canada from India in 1966, Mansaram gravitated towards collage as a medium that reflected his experience as a diaspora artist. His interest in popular images and the power of media in daily life led him to form a close friendship with renowned cultural theorist and University of Toronto professor Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). Rear View Mirror #74, a collage piece based on McLuhan's writings on media-saturated culture, is the only known collaboration between Mansaram and McLuhan, and now a significant part of the ROM's collection. This work, along with several others, will be on display at the event.

'We are thrilled to welcome Panchal Mansaram's works as an important enhancement of the ROM's permanent South Asia collection, one that reflects a global and more pluralistic history of modernism,' said Dr. Deepali Dewan, Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture. 'As an experimental, ever-evolving contemporary artist with roots in India and Canada, Mansaram's diasporic identity broadens our understanding of Indian modernism and Canadian art history. We are excited to share his legacy with Canadians and international visitors from around the world.'

The ROM's Annual South Asia Lecture is generously supported by the Ancient Echoes, Modern Voices South Asia Programs Fund.

For tickets to the ROM's Inaugural Annual South Asia Lecture Art, Culture, and Journalism, please visit

About Sidharth Bhatia

Mumbai-based journalist and writer Sidharth Bhatia is one of the founding editors of The Wire, a non-profit media venture that publishes independent journalism. He was among the editors who launched Daily News and Analysis (DNA) in 2005 and managed its editorial and opinion section. He writes on politics, society and culture. An Associate Press Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge University, Bhatia's most recent book India Psychedelic, the rock scene in India I the 1960s and 1970s.

About Panchal Mansaram

Panchal Mansaram (P.Mansaram) was born in 1934 in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India and studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art. Shortly after studying at the Rijks Academie in Amsterdam, he migrated to Canada in 1966 with his artist wife Tarunika and three-month-old daughter Mila. He formed a friendship with cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan in Toronto, whose ideas resonated with his work. Interested in media, daily life, and cultural signs, Mansaram experimented with various media from print making and painting to photography, textiles, xerox art, and video. Overall, collage served as an artistic practice and life philosophy that mirrored his experience as a diaspora artist. In 2016, the ROM acquired over 700 pieces from the artist's archive reflecting over 50 years of his work.

About Dr. Deepali Dewan

An art historian with a special interest in the visual cultures of South Asia, Dr. Deepali Dewan is the Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture in the ROM's Department of World Cultures; Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto; affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies; and is part of the Toronto Photography Seminar, a group of scholars from Ontario institutions who read, produce, and edit collaborative research on the history and theory of photography.

Dewan's research, which has been presented in publications and exhibitions, encompasses 19th and 20th-century visual culture of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. She is the author of Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India (2013, co-authored with Deborah Hutton), Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs (2012), and the editor of Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s (2011). She is one of the curators of the upcoming ROM original exhibition The Family Camera.

Previously, Dr. Dewan worked at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and The Asia Society, New York City. She has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the College Art Association, the MacArthur Program/Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota, the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

About the ROM South Asian Collection

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. 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 South Asia Programs Fund.


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