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Art in Mumbai: Looking back at the History of Mumbai's Art

Date: 19th November

Time: 3:30pm to 4:00pm


Mumbai has always been a melting pot for art and culture that thrives on an energy all its own. Built on capitalism and philanthropy, the port city seems to be constantly inspiring its residents to push the envelope and create meaningful engagements with the visual and performing arts, our aesthetic heritage and a cultural corridor with the rest of the world. This panel invites seminal figures who have shaped Mumbai’s art world, to share their experiences, anecdotes and insights of key moments that contributed to and transformed the fabric of Mumbai's art and culture.


Pheroza Godrej

Tasneem Mehta

Saryu Doshi


Abhay Sardesai

About the Speakers


Pheroza J. Godrej is an art-historian and a Ph.D. in Ancient Indian Culture. She founded the Cymroza Art Gallery and authored various publications and curated highly acclaimed exhibitions for leading National and International Museums.

She is Chairperson of the Museum Society of Mumbai; former President of the National Society of the Friends of the Trees for 17 years, President Emeritus since 2016.

Dr. Godrej is Trustee of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, and the Sea Cadet Corp India; Director of Asia Society India Centre; and on the Advisory Executive Board of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology (ATREE) and the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation. She is a Member of the Advisory Council for the JCB Prize for Literature, and a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce (RSA), U.K.

The Asiatic Society of Mumbai conferred her with the Society’s Honorary Fellowship for her outstanding contribution in the field of art and culture. Dr. Godrej is the Chairperson of the Godrej Archives Council and Advisor, Godrej Mangroves Cell.


Saryu Doshi has a doctorate in Ancient Indian History and Culture from the University of Bombay and thereafter did her post doctoral research at the University of Chicago, USA.

An eminent scholar in Indian Classical and Contemporary art, she was the Honorary Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art (Government of India), Bombay from 1996 to 2005. During her term she curated thirteen major exhibitions and art shows.  She was Pro-tem Chairman of the Lalit Kala Academy  from 1999 - 2002 and, from 1981 - 1986 Editor of Marg Publications. Among the major awards received by Doshi are the Padmashri (a National award by the Government of India) in 1999 and the “Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity” by the Italian Government for her contribution towards promoting Italian culture in India in 2006. Doshi has also served on the Boards of various Universities and Academic Institutions and cultural organisations. She has been a member of the Advisory Council of  the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation; as well as Trustee, Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya). Currently, she is on the Board of  Trustees of the Advisory Board, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, member of the Board of Trustees of the Indira Gandhi National Center of Arts (Delhi) and Vice Chairperson of  Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage  (INTACH), Delhi.

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Tasneem Zakaria Mehta is an art historian, writer, and conservation activist who studied Fine Arts and Textile Design at the Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai. She received a BA in Political Theory at Columbia University, New York, and a Masters in English Literature, Delhi University. She researched towards a PhD on Indian art history at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Mehta pioneered the revival and restoration of several of Mumbai’s important cultural sites. She conceptualized, curated, designed, and implemented the restoration and revitalization of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, which won UNESCO’s 2005 Asia Pacific Award of Excellence. As Managing Trustee and Honorary Director, from 2003 to the present, she curates the exhibition and education programmes of the Museum, and Chairs the Academic Council of the PG Diploma in Indian Art History. She oversees the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) conservation lab at the Museum. Mehta has served as an advisor to many of the leading cultural institutions in South Asia. These include the Bangladesh government on the Bangabandhu Museum, Dacca, appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office, 2015; Advisory Board of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, from 1997 to 2015; the NGMA National Advisory Council from 2009 to 2011; and the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, 2003–2005 and 2011–2014.


Abhay Sardesai has been the Editor of ART India, South Asia’s leading visual arts magazine for the last 21 years. He has taught Aesthetics and Criticism at the University of Mumbai; Language, Literature, Communication Skills and Criticism at SNDT University; Art History and Writing at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, among other pedagogic and museumic spaces. Sardesai writes in English and translates from Marathi, Konkani and Hindi. He recently curated Bibliopolis, a show exploring the inner lives of books, at the David Sassoon Library in Mumbai.

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