Peabody Essex Museum’s Siddhartha Shah On Upcoming Fadia-Deshpande Gallery and What is Modern Indian Art

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BOSTON—Did you known that Salem, MA-based Peabody Essex Museum has the largest collection of modern Indian art outside India, and that this Museum is opening Fadia-Deshpande Gallery at PEM this fall?

The new Fadia-Deshpande Gallery features a selection of objects from PEM’s extensive collection of historical material from India. Focused primarily on the 19th century, the gallery considers India’s long and complex history of foreign occupation, and its troubling impact on the representation of Indian people in art, according to PEM’s website.

In an exclusive video interview with Face-to-Face of INDIA New England News, Siddhartha V. Shah, Director of Education and Civic Engagement and Curator of Indian and South Asian Art at PEM, talks about the modern Indian art, the opening of the Fadia-Deshpande gallery and differences between modern arts of different countries.

To watch the full interview, please click here, or on the image below.

Mr. Shah joined PEM in 2018 after a long career as an entrepreneurial art professional with wide-ranging interests in South Asian art. In addition to working as an independent curator, Mr. Shah specialized in Hindu and Buddhist art of the Kathmandu Valley, visual and material culture of the British Raj, as well as modern and contemporary Indian art.

Mr. Shah develops exhibitions that tell the stories of artists, communities and traditions of South Asia, as well as important moments in the history of the region.

This fall, Mr. Shah curates the installation of PEM’s new South Asian Art Galleries to consider how colonial occupation shaped ideas and perceptions of India that persist even today, as well as shed new light on the museum’s renowned Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection of modern Indian Art and what it reveals about nation-building and self-discovery.

In his role as Director of Education and Civic Engagement, Mr. Shah creates alignment and synergy between the museum’s education and curatorial departments while focusing on community engagement and impactful programming.

Mr. Shah earned his B.A. in art history from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University.

His academic and curatorial projects have been featured in publications ranging from India Today and The Times of India, to Psychology Today and The New Yorker. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and on the Board of the American Council for Southern Asian Art.


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