KUALA LUMPUR: Brahmal Vasudevan, the founder of private equity firm Creador, and lawyer Shanthi Kandiah have made a contribution to Princeton University via a new professorship dedicated to elevating the recognition of South Asian art.
The Vidya Dehejia Professorship of South Asian Art is expected to pave the way for greater research of India's art heritage and elevating the country's profile, while serving also to bolster Princeton's strengths in art history.
The contribution was made via the couple's philantropic foundation, the Alaka Holdings Trust.
"Shanthi and I feel it is important that we make contributions to the societies we live in. While we are Malaysians at heart, we have been fortunate to live in some of the most vibrant cities of the world - Singapore, London, Boston, Palo Alto and New Delhi.
"However, we found that it was difficult to appreciate Indian art when you live in cities outside of India. With India increasingly becoming an important part of the global ecosystem, we believe more and more people will want to understand the rich and varied culture of this huge country," said Brahmal.
Vidya Dehejia, the Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emeritus of Indian Art at Columbia University, was previously the director of the South Asia Institute at Columbia University.
She is the author of a catalog on Chola Tamil bronzes which was part of an international exhibition “Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India,” presented by the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2006.
The exhibition showcased multiple renaissance periods of Indian art and made a huge impression on Vasudevan.
Brahmal and Shanthi first reached out to Vidya in 2013 after being impressed by her dedication to the learning and dessemination of Indian art knowledge.
"We felt it was important that her work, and the stature of South Asian art, be cemented in the academic world," said Shanthi.
"The perfect way, we felt, was by partnering with a prestigious university on a professorship, as a complement to a liberal arts education.