Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) on Friday (24 March) and met with Museum Director Matthew Teitelbaum, Chief of Curatorial Affairs and Conservation and Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Christina Yu Yu, and senior staff. He discussed the commemoration of Sri Lankan former curator of the Museum, Ananda Coomaraswamy, in conjunction with celebrations connected with 75 years of Sri Lanka – United States diplomatic relations in 2023.
Ananda Coomaraswamy, born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to a Ceylonese father and an English mother, was educated in England. Upon his graduation from University College, London, he moved to Ceylon, where he worked and earned a PhD, and studied and collected Sinhalese art. He returned to London in 1906, where his conception of Indian art and modernity shared much with the flourishing Arts and Crafts movement and where modern artists began to find much of value in his thought. When he moved to Boston in 1917 to become the first Keeper of Indian Art (Curator) at the MFA, his collection became the core of the first significant collection of Indian art in America. In 1933, he took up the position of Fellow for Research in Indian, Persian, and Mohammedan art at the MFA, a position he held until his death in 1947. He is described as "the groundbreaking theorist who was largely responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West".
Ambassador Samarasinghe discussed the various initiatives by the MFA to commemorate this distinguished personality and stated that the Embassy was pleased to associate itself with the efforts to celebrate the life’s work of Coomaraswamy and his service to the MFA, in particular.(Ends)
Embassy of Sri Lanka
27th March 2023