Philanthropist and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation Nita Ambani has been elected to the board of the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for her "truly exceptional" commitment to preserve and promote India's art and culture.
Chairman Daniel Brodsky of the museum, considered as the largest and most visited art museums in the world, announced that Nita has been named its Honorary Trustee. Her election took place at the meeting of the board on Tuesday.
Welcoming Nita, 56, to the board, Brodsky, in a statement, said that her “commitment to The Met and to preserving and promoting India's art and culture is truly exceptional. Her support has an enormous impact on the museum's ability to study and display art from every corner of the world.”
Nita, wife of Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, is also the Founder the Reliance Foundation, which has supported The Met since 2016, beginning with the exhibition ‘Nasreen Mohamedi', which was the first museum retrospective of the artist's work in the United States and was also one of The Met Breuer's inaugural exhibitions.
She is also a member of The Met's International Council. The museum had announced in October 2017 that the Reliance Foundation promised a “generous gift" to support exhibitions that explore and celebrate the arts of India. It had not stated the amount of the gift. The museum had then described Nita and Mukesh as "great champions of The Met."
In a statement made at the time of the announcement of the gift in 2017, Nita had said that India has a rich heritage of art and culture that can be traced back to the fourth century B.C.
She had said that the foundation aims to recognise and promote the “valuable tradition” by offering opportunities and platforms for Indian art not only within the country but at various institutions around the globe as well.
“This partnership with The Met enables Indian art to be shown at an iconic institution and further encourages us to continue our work in the art world,” she had said then.
The first exhibition to benefit from the Foundation's gift was ‘Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs' that ran from October 2017 till January 2018, followed by ‘Phenomenal Nature: Mrinalini Mukherjee' (June-September 2019). This exhibition marked the first comprehensive display of the renowned Indian sculptor's work in the United States.
Other exhibitions that will benefit from the Foundation's sponsorship include the upcoming ‘Tree and Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 B.C.-A.D. 400', opening November 10, 2020, at The Met Fifth Avenue, along with exhibitions that will cover such topics as 17th-century Mughal art and contemporary Indian sculpture.
In 2017, the museum honoured Nita at The Met Winter Party, an event that celebrates “the achievements of those who foster greater diversity and inclusion in the world of art.”
The Met said Nita is “especially committed to preserving and promoting India's art, culture, and heritage” and noted that the Reliance Foundation has sponsored key cultural events such as ‘Abbaji', the annual concert of legendary musician Ustad Zakir Hussain, among the many efforts to recognize the cultural legends of India and ensure their relevance to a younger generation.
The foundation has supported not only a series of exhibitions at The Met but also presentations such as ‘The Tradition of Krishna Paintings' at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, it said. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, and is located in three iconic sites in New York City.
According to the museum's mission statement, The Metropolitan Museum of Art collects, studies, conserves and presents significant works of art across all times and cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas. It attracts visitors from across the world.
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First Published: IST