The Royal Ontario Museum Receives Landmark $5 Million Gift from Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Dan Mishra

Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative will fund ROM research, exhibitions, public engagement, learning activities, and an endowed curatorship

TORONTO, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce it has received a gift of $5 million from entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan Mishra, which represents the largest donation to the Museum's South Asian section. With this landmark gift, the Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative establishes a newly endowed curatorial position and sustainable funding for exhibitions, public engagement, research, and learning activities that will support and enhance the Museum's commitment to South Asian art and culture.

Dan Mishra, who came to Canada from India as a student in 1969, has chosen to make the full donation this year. He sees the donation as "an opportunity to give back" to his adopted home. "Throughout its long history, South Asian art and culture has had an important influence on shaping our modern world," says Mr. Mishra. "I am thrilled to support the ROM's commitment to bringing a greater public understanding and appreciation of South Asian culture, and broadening the institution's stewardship and expertise in this area."

With 10,000 objects that encompass over 5,000 years, the ROM's South Asian collection is one of the foremost in the Western world. The new curatorship and funding will allow the Museum to expand its current presentation of South Asian artifacts to more fully represent the diverse range of the region's visual culture, develop thought-provoking exhibitions, public programs and learning activities—and engage in outreach within and beyond the South Asian communities.

"We are extraordinarily grateful to Dan Mishra for his visionary gift, which will have a lasting impact on the Museum and future generations of ROM visitors," says Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO. "The Dan Mishra South Asian Initiative represents a transformational opportunity to enhance the Museum's research, exhibitions, public engagement, and learning activities. Through Dan's generosity, the ROM will have the resources to build on its global reputation as a leading centre of scholarship in South Asian art and culture. As we celebrate Canada's 150th year, I can think of no better gift than one that deepens the ties within the culturally diverse mosaic that defines Canada."

The new Dan Mishra Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture will be held by Dr. Deepali Dewan, ROM's Senior Curator, Department of World Cultures. Says Dr. Dewan: "Establishing a South Asian curatorial position that will continue in perpetuity highlights the Museum's commitment to this cultural area, and enables one of North America's leading museums to develop an ambitious and sustainable range of programming, research and educational activities around South Asian art and culture that reinforces the ROM's position as a destination for visitors, researchers, academics and learners from around the world."

Funding for the Dan Mishra Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture was generously matched by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust. The ROM and the ROM Governors thank Gary Weddel and Lisa Saunders, Trustees of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, for their ongoing support of the Museum.

Almost 20 years ago, families, individuals and organizations from the South Asian community came together to help the ROM create the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery, Canada's first—and still only— permanent gallery of South Asian art. Their contributions also made it possible to partially endow the first Curatorship of South Asian Art & Culture, establish an acquisition program and endow the Ancient Echoes/Modern Voices Programs Fund.

Media are invited to attend a special event and photo-op on Thursday, April 27 at 10:30 am, at the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen's Park, Toronto).

About Dan Mishra
For more than 30 years, Dan Mishra has built successful companies that help North America's leading public and private sector companies achieve their most important business goals. As CEO, Dan has been the driving force behind CSDC Systems, propelling the North-America-based company to become a recognized leader of a world-class software platform (AMANDA), that help governments engage their citizens.

In addition to establishing a thriving international company, Dan's accomplishments include: introducing Smart Governance Systems to emerging countries in Asia and Africa, establishing a Young Entrepreneur Award for aspiring young students, investing in businesses led by young entrepreneurs, speaking and teaching management skills to business people.

Because of his passion and foresight, Dan is regarded by leaders in the public and private sectors as an approachable visionary and successful entrepreneur. Dan is a philanthropist as well as a Kriya Yoga Master.

About Dr. Deepali Dewan
An art historian with a special interest in the visual cultures of South Asia, Dr. Deepali Dewan is the Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture in the ROM's Department of World Cultures; Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto; affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies; and is part of the Toronto Photography Seminar, a group of scholars from Ontario institutions who read, produce, and edit collaborative research on the history and theory of photography.

Dewan's research, which has been presented in publications and exhibitions, encompasses 19th and 20th-century visual culture of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. She is the author of Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India (2013, co-authored with Deborah Hutton), Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs (2012), and the editor of Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s (2011). She is one of the curators of the upcoming ROM original exhibition The Family Camera.

Previously, Dr. Dewan worked at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and The Asia Society, New York City. She has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the College Art Association, the MacArthur Program/Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota, the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Opened in 1914, the ROM showcases art, culture, and nature across time and around the globe. Among North America's most renowned museums, the ROM is Canada's largest with the dual mandate of natural history and world cultures. The Renaissance ROM expansion project (2007) preserved the best of the Museum's beautiful historic architecture while merging its iconic heritage building with the Studio Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The ROM is the country's largest field research institution and an international leader in areas encompassing the visual arts, material culture and archaeology, biodiversity, palaeontology, and earth sciences — originating new information towards a global understanding of historical and modern change in the natural and cultural worlds. For tickets and 24-hour information in English and French, visit or call 416.586.8000. For Membership enquiries, please call 416.586.5700.

SOURCE Royal Ontario Museum

For further information: Media Contact: Sally Tindal, AVP Publications and Public Relations, 416.586.5858,


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