ROM Governors

Landmark $5 Million Donation from Dan Mishra

Dr. Deepali Dewan and Mr. Dan Mishra

Dan Mishra’s donation of $5 million to the Museum’s South Asian section is the largest ever and a fitting tribute to the philanthropist’s adopted country as it celebrates its 150th year.

“I’ve lived in Canada for almost 50 years and every moment, every day, I’m so proud of this country,” said Mr. Mishra, who first came to Canada from India as a student in 1969 and is now the chair and chief executive of global software company CSDS Systems, Inc. “When I come back after travelling, I am struck by what a peaceful and multicultural society we live in, and I am grateful to Canada for giving me a home.”

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 ROM’s commitment to South Asian Visual Culture. “Throughout its long history, South Asia’s cultural legacy has shaped our modern world,” Mr. Mishra said. “I want to share those stories with ROM visitors and future generations.”

Deepali Dewan, who joined the ROM in 2002, becomes the first to hold the curatorial position—funding for which was generously matched by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust. “Endowment of this curatorial position enables the ROM to develop an ambitious and sustainable range of programming, research and educational activities around South Asian art and culture, reinforcing it as a global destination for visitors, researchers, academics and learners,” she says.

Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO, recognizes the strength of this “visionary gift. “Through Dan’s generosity, the Museum will have the resources to build on its global reputation as a leading centre of scholarship in South Asian art and culture.” 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. But it wasn’t always so. Almost 20 years ago, families, individuals, and businesses came together to create the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery, Canada’s first—and still only—permanent gallery of South Asian art.

The contributions of the South Asian community 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. “My work at the ROM is a testament to the power of philanthropy,” says Dr. Dewan, who has greatly expanded the collection through strategic acquisitions. “I am honoured to continue to share the artistic and cultural legacy of South Asia with the world, enabled by the generosity of Dan Mishra.”

The ROM is proud to welcome Dan Mishra to our Museum family and honoured to establish a cultural legacy for the people of Canada on his behalf. To learn how you can support the South Asian activities or endow a prestigious curatorship at the ROM, please contact Ulrica Jobe at ulricaj@rom.on.ca or 416.586.5818.