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Rajeev Lochan
(Artist) by Yuriko Lochan

In this issue, I would like to introduce my husband, Professor Rajeev Lochan, presently a Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi, who is an artist and art education specialist. After teaching various 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 who has transformed into a director of a museum, and my 20-year teaching experience and scholarly activities enables 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 the wide spectrum of art. Art has various diverse attitudes--- functional, thematic, conceptual and so on. It is difficult for some one who belongs to one particular discipline to fully understand each respective facets and inter-dependence. But for me, right now, the functional role of art is managed as a director of a museum, the thematic part is understood well as an academician, and the conceptual attitude of art too is comprehend well as an artist.

In association with Picasso Museum in Paris, NGMA held an exhibition of works of Picasso titled ' Metamorphosis 1900 -1972 ' in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2001. I believe this exhibition gave the first opportunity to witness and appreciate the works and the life of an internationally known artist, showcases a wide variety of works executed in various medium, displayed in a magnificent scale, 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 the wonderful opportunity of a glimpse into a formation and development of their own culture. Large -scale retrospective exhibition can provide holistic insight to the works and life of an artist. It is difficult to achieve this quality by the shows of commercially motivated, privately managed art galleries.

Our museum houses a collection of around 17.000 works of art. They are from the period that traces the transformation of the society of this country. In the past, this museum has only exhibitions from the collections of other art museums and private galleries. However, perceptively complied exhibitions from the collection of this museum would also be extremely interesting ones. It will provide the opportunity to review the changing patterns of esthetical appreciation through the formative period of the society of this country.

I expect these exhibitions held in this museum would be good opportunity to understand the present approach of the society of this country.

Presently, a new building of NGMA is under construction. I would like this building to be fully equipped with facilities and spaces as good as those of renowned museums around the world. When it is operational, I hope the prevailing concept of museums of India would achieve the newly improved and significant status; more active, interactive environment with the society. There are plans for exchange exhibitions with museums of various countries.

The immense potential of Indian culture derives from large cross-section of the cultural diversity of this region. Esthetical options too, has been based on large variety of society such as traditional, modern and western. This ingenue quality can be viewed strongly in modern/contemporary Indian art. I think these presentations would raise the questions to you all; how has Indian art significantly been contributing to the art of mankind and also that of humanity, and what does it suggest to the contemporary world.

I have regarded Japan as a kind of role model. Both India and Japan has rich tradition derived from the deeper insight, contrary to the western tradition formulated the cultural values based on physicality. I am afraid that both India and Japan are losing their ingenuity of their tradition, blindly giving importance to the functionality and convenience. The evolution does not mean the process of losing identity. Tradition has to be passed on to the next generation in a living form, not merely as the museum piece.
 

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