Major Loans of Contemporary Indian Art at PEM

SALEM, MA – The Harmony Art Foundation helmed by Tina Ambani will lend three works by masters of contemporary Indian art to be unveiled as part of Sensational India! – the Peabody Essex Museum’s annual festival of Indian art and culture April 10 – 11, 2010.

Anish Kapoor’s work has been exhibited and collected by major museums around the world including recent exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. In the United States he is best known for his 110-ton stainless steel public sculpture Cloud Gate 2004, installed in Millennium Park, Chicago. Its curved mirrored surfaces envelop the viewer in a play of reflections of themselves, the sky and the Chicago skyline.

Another of Kapoor’s large reflective sculptures, Halo, 2006 will hang in the PEM Atrium, on long-term loan from the Tina and Anil Ambani Collection. Halo is a shallow circular cone of stainless steel, 10 feet in diameter. Its surface is pleated in a radial pattern, a manipulation more commonly associated with pliable fabric than unyielding steel. “Anish Kapoor is one of the most important artists working in the world today,” says Trevor Smith, PEM Curator of Contemporary Art. “The extraordinary technical achievement of his sculpture depends on contemporary technology while invoking a sense of wonder that is timeless.

The Ambanis also lent Birth by Francis Newton Souza and Ahmedabad Scene by Paritosh Sen to the new exhibition drawn from PEM’s Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection – the country’s most important public collection of modern art from India. Painting the Modern in India features seven renowned artists who pioneered new approaches to painting after India achieved independence from British rule in 1947.

“We are thrilled to have these three key works from the Ambani Collection,” says Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, The James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator at PEM. “Their extended loan is just one of the many ways in which we are bringing global contemporary art to PEM.

The Peabody Essex Museum began collecting Indian art in 1799. Among the Museum’s most stunning pieces ranging from the 1600s to the present are those currently featured in the Prashant H. Fadia Foundation and Deshpande Foundation galleries of traditional Indian art, and the Edger M. Batchelder Gallery showcasing important Mughal works. With the addition of the renowned Chester and Davida Herwitz collection of contemporary Indian art in 2000, the museum established a unique international position as the holder of one of the most comprehensive collections of Indian art showcasing the breadth and depth of Indian artistic achievement. PEM is singular among American museums in its continuing commitment to collecting and presenting the work of modern and contemporary Indian artists. In addition to its three galleries dedicated to Indian art, the museum presents a constantly changing array of exhibitions, publications, education, and public programs dedicated to engendering increased appreciation of Indian art and culture.

Tina Ambani is the founder of the Harmony Art Foundation, an institution which supports India’s emerging and established artists. The Foundation’s yearly contemporary art show presents young, upcoming talent with that of acknowledged masters, and is the largest of its kind in the country. Over the past 13 years, the Harmony Art Foundation has showcased the work of nearly 1,500 artists and has attracted over a half million visitors.

“There is a tremendous synergy between the Peabody Essex Museum and Harmony Art Foundation based on our belief in Indian art, and our genuine commitment to bring it to the global stage. It’s time that the art world looks beyond current fads and market trends to establish an abiding interest in the incredible power and potential of Indian art, ” said Ambani.A former model and popular actor, Ambani is a graduate of the Los Angeles Institute of Interior Design. She has been on the advisory board of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai; the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; and nominee to the reconstituted General Assembly of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the country’s pre-eminent agency for cultural exchange. Further, she is chairperson of Harmony for Silvers Foundation, a Mumbai-based non- government organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life of the elderly in India. Ambani recently launched the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute, India’s newest, most advanced tertiary care facility, which is designed to raise India’s standing as a healthcare hub. Tina is married to Anil, chairman of Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (Reliance ADA Group), which has interests in communications, energy, financial services, health, media and entertainment. They have two sons.

The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum’s collections are among the finest of their kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collections, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions and a hands-on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit