Ajay Piramal Wants to Bring Fine Art to the Masses
NEW YORK — Ajay Piramal, the CEO of the Piramal-Shriram Group, is known for his ventures in an array of industries: health care, financial services, glass manufacturing, and information management, to name a few. However, in addition to all of these businesses, Piramal is also on a mission to make fine arts accessible to the Indian public.
"If you go to a museum, it’s a very elite thing to do," Piramal said on Tuesday during a special one-on-one conversation at Asia Society with Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran. "So we decided, let’s make a small effort in that and therefore we opened this museum."
The Piramal Museum of Art, which was developed through the company's philanthropic group, the Piramal Art Foundation, is free to the public. The museum serves as a space that bridges the gap between Mumbai's private collectors who wanted to make their collections public but lacked the space to do so, and common people who were never exposed to fine art. "We felt that the average person, especially in a city like Mumbai, or even [anywhere] in India, is not exposed too much to art," Piramal said. "It’s in the business district and people just walk through it. You don’t have to make it a special effort to go to the museum, because a common person will get inhibited [thinking] 'I can’t go there.' If there’s a kid from a municipal school — they’re not going to to do that."
Piramal hopes that his contribution will ignite interest among Indian people of the importance of consuming art.
"It’s not yet top of the agenda [for others]. That’s why we made this small effort of starting at least a museum," Piramal said. "I’m glad [to see] that once we’ve started it now I’ve read in the press that there are three other industrialists are starting [their own museum infrastructures] in Mumbai."
The Piramal Art Foundation was founded in 2014 and is one of the latest philanthropic endeavors of the Piramal family, who also have initiatives concerning women empowerment, clean water access, education, and healthcare.
Read our full coverage of Ajay Piramal on Asia Blog.