Friday, September 05, 2014

Preparations Under Way for the Kochi Biennale

KOCHI: Preparations are in full swing as the city gears up to host the second edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the 108-day mega art event, starting December 12.

Jitish Kallat, curator and art director for the biennale, said the second edition would feature around 85 artists from over 28 countries. Some of the key artists have already made site visits. They include Franceso Clemente, Anish Kapoor, Christian Waldvogel, K G Subramanyan, Sudhir Patwardhan, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh and Namboodiri.

Kallat said it was a rewarding moment for him when talks with artist-colleagues are getting translated into projects in Kochi.The embryonic form of the project is taking shape, he noted.

“The exhibition brings together art works that picture versions of the world referencing history, geography, astronomy, time and myth, interlacing the terrestrial with the celestial.” The full list of artists will be announced in a few weeks. Kallat had been engaged in a year-long research trip to select the artists for the much-awaited second edition.

Venues for the second edition are getting ready and the artists have already started working on site. KBF president Bose Krishnamachari said the foundation has retained most of the venues of last time.
“But this time we will have additional venues and projects in a few public spaces. We are looking forward to an engaging project put up by Kallat,” he said.  The KBF has been organising several talks and cultural programmes in the run-up to the Biennale. 

Riyas Komu, director of programmes, said the KBF has always been mindful of the larger participation of the people to engage them with contemporary art.

“This time we will be having several programmes including the students’ biennale, children’s biennale, Artists’ Cinema Project and various cultural programmes that will run parallel to the biennale,” he said.

The mega art festival is slated to conclude on March 29, 2015.

Credits
By Express News Service
Published: 04th September 2014 06:00 AM

London's 'India Week' hosts rare art from global collections

New Delhi: A painting by Tyeb Mehta from a Japanese museum collection, a set of rare Kalighat paintings dating pre-Independence and a large stained glass piece by F N Souza are among artworks set for auction in London soon.

Tyeb Mehta's painting

In a new initiative 'India Week', global auctioneers Sotheby's have brought together many artworks done by Indian modern and contemporary artists which includes quite a few pieces that have never been seen in public for over 50 years.    "We are holding three auctions in October of about 100 artworks beginning from 1500 to present time. Many works are coming to the market for the first time. It is a huge cross marketing platform to appeal to art collectors across the world," Yamini Mehta, international director for Indian and South Asian Art said.    The two-day event beginning October 7 with 'Modern and contemporary South Asian' auction followed by sale of 'Arts of Imperial' and the 'Arts of Islamic World' is estimated to raise a total of 10 million pounds.    The initiative, says Mehta is also a build up to Frieze, one of world's largest contemporary art fair that takes place annually in London and sees buyers including Indians, from all over the world visiting.    "We are selling some real treasures. It is very eclectic and had something for all tastes and pockets," says Edward Gibbs, chairman Middle East and India for Sotheby's.    Rare black and white photographs of historic monuments and important personalities in pre independent India that were commissioned for Lord Curzon feature in the 'Art of Imperial' sale.    ‘Blue Painting’ the oil on canvas painting by Tyeb Mehta in 1982 from the Glenbarra Art Museum in Japan has been estimated to fetch between Rs 5.97 crore to Rs 7.97 crore (600,000 to 800,000 pounds) in the modern and contemporary auction.    "The painting had visited India in a show in 1997 and it is now coming back here for the first time after that," says Priyanka Matthews, head of sales, Sotheby's who is slated to auctioneering at the India Week. A set of Kalighat paintings from the William and Mildred Archer collection is among those set to go under the hammer.    "William was one of the most prolific scholars of Indian art and this set of paintings was discovered by his son in an attic at his home in rural England and we brought them in. It is such a treasure and pleasure to have a group of Kalighat paintings," says Mehta.    Two works on paper by Rabindranath Tagore are from the same collection.    Among other highlights of the auction are works by M F Husain. "Some of his wooden toys are being brought from a French diplomat in Monaco," says Mehta.    An early work ‘Prophet’ by Akbar Padamsee has been sourced from an art collector in Brazil. From a Swiss collector comes a Krishen Khanna work.    "A large Benaras paper work by Ram Kumar, a beautiful early work by Satish Gujaral and one of the largest F N Souza depicting Goan landscape are some of the other works," says Mehta.
Early works by Jamini Roy, Mrilalini Mukherjee and Rameshwar Broota also figure in the sale that sees works by artists from India and Pakistan like Rashid Rana, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta.    Previews of select artworks are set to be held here and in New York and London prior to the sale, according to the auctioneers.

How Useful Are Art Indices?

When you think about art indices, you need to consider carefully what they choose to include as well as what they are forced to leave out.

While making a laudable attempt to bring transparency to the opaque art market, they have always been hobbled by the lack of sales data available. All of them rely on data from just half the art market – the auction market – when 53% of the global art market is actually made up of private gallery and dealer sales, according to TEFAF’s latest report.
Typically, they also track the most successful art sales at auction, in some cases, artworks that have successfully sold at auction more than once, while omitting artworks that fail to sell at auction (around one quarter of lots). As Georgina Adam points out in her new book ‘Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century‘, “if 10 Warhols are offered for sale, nine are bought in [fail to find a buyer or meet the unknown reserve price] but one triples its estimate, then performance indices would record a fine result”.
Barnett Newman's Black Fire I that sold for $84.1 million at Christie's last November. Art indices focus on the best performing part of the auction market.
Barnett Newman’s Black Fire I that sold for $84.1 million at Christie’s last November. Art indices focus on the best performing part of the auction market.
Not all indices include atypical results. Art Market Research, for example, allows subscribers to create their own indices that cut out the top and bottom outlier results at auction, but Mike Moses, co-founder of the Mei Moses Art Indices, agrees that buy-ins are a particular challenge. “Every index provider faces the same problem of how to deal with buy-ins,” he says. “There’s no way to assign any value to these lots, other than making up a price.” I should add here the obvious fact that no art indices take into account all the art that is never deemed valuable enough to be resold in the first place.
These are thorny problems, but if you use art market indices to assess whether art is a good investment, you’re making investment assumptions about a market where half of the data from private sales is unknowable and where the tranche of data that indices do include from the other half, the auction market, has a selection bias.
The fact that many of the sales prices that result from online auctions are not published suggests that the data art indices rely on are becoming less representative of the broader market than before. Selling art online is “leading to less, not greater transparency in the market, running counter to the freer access to price data that the internet was supposed to foster,” writes Adam. “Couple this with the growing number of private sales by auction houses, then comparing prices is likely to become less easy, not more so.”
As you think about any art market index, it’s important to consider the very different methodologies they use to tackle a market where all artworks are unique, but also the usefulness of their underlying data, so this seems like a good time to outline what some of the main art indices do and don’t include.
I’m also including the latest year-to-date results from each providers’ post-war and contemporary art indices below, where that is available, as a point of comparison.
1. Mei Moses Indices
Indices available: Mei Moses publishes one World All Art Index and seven indices representing different collecting categories. All of them are updated annually, although Mei Moses will soon publish a semi-annual update for the World All Art Index. Mei Moses also issues quarterly tracking estimates for these indices, based on new results so far during the year.
Source of underlying data: To try to make useful comparisons in a market in which all artworks are unique, the Mei Moses database only include artworks that have sold more than once, using data collected from two companies, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but not their online sales. The Mei Moses database includes over 45,000 repeat sale pairs for over 20,000 individual works of art sold around the world. Around 3,000 to 4,000 new repeat sale pairs are added each year, and while the data about repeat sales is just gleaned from Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the auction venue where the artwork sold in the first place can be anywhere.
Index methodology: Using this repeat sales data, the Mei Moses Indices track the price difference between each subsequent sale. The indices include all the repeat sales data available and are not weighted. Bought-in lots are not included.
Performance of the Mei Moses World Post-War and Contemporary Index: down 0.47% from January to July 2014.
2. Artnet Indices
Indices available: Indices that monitor the performance of various market categories, such as contemporary art, Impressionist art and modern art. Subscribers can also access artist-specific indices or indices devoted to a subset of that artist’s work.

Source of underlying data:
Artnet’s database includes sales from 1,600 auction houses worldwide, including the results of online auctions from the companies that make this information available. These include lots sold via Artnet’s website, but also through external sites such as Auctionata and Heritage Auctions.
These external sites do not include Sotheby’s and Christie’s, although Sotheby’s online-only auctions through its new partnership with EBay have yet to start. Jordan Quitko, director of product operations at Artnet, reports that Christie’s used to publish the prices from these sales, but has since stopped. Quitko says that Artnet is actively talking with Sotheby’s and Christie’s about obtaining these results.
Index methodology: Artnet organizes auction sales into comparable groups, which includes repeat sales at auction as well as art works that have only sold once, as long they share enough characteristics with the other artworks in that group. Index values for individual artists within Artnet’s market sector indices are calculated based on the median price per lot for each artist within these groups, excluding prints, multiplied by total lots sold for that artist.
The Artnet Contemporary C50 index, for example, ranks the top performing 50 contemporary artists based on their index values each year, subject to a decay formula that looks back five years, and gives each of those 50 artists equal weighting in the index. This approach is said to capture 75% of all sold lots in the Artnet database, but does not include bought-in lots.
Performance of the Artnet Contemporary C50: Up 120% from January to July 2014.
Performance of the Artnet Modern 25: Down 54% from January to July 2014.
3. Artprice Indices
Indices available: Artprice publishes the Artprice Global Index, from which it also extracts results for different art periods, such as contemporary and modern art. Subscribers to its website can also generate artist-specific indices.
Source of the underlying data: Sales from 4,500 auction houses, but generally not the results of online auctions, according to Jean Minguet, Artprice’s head of econometrics, either because those results aren’t published (as in the case of Christie’s) or because they are not sold through a live auction format, which includes sales on Artprice.com. However, its database does include results from companies like Heffel that do hold live online auctions and publish the results.
Index methodology: The Artprice Global Index also uses the repeat sale methodology to track the performance of individual artworks that have sold more than once at auction and bought-in lots are not included.
Performance of the Index: Artprice would not release the latest year-to-date results for its index, but its price index for contemporary art increased 102% in 2013, while post-war art rose 76.7%.
It’s worth ending by saying that although art indices have a selection bias, they’re not the only ones. Under performing stocks are periodically switched out in favor of better performing names in the S&P500, for example. A key difference here, though, is that art indices, which are an amalgam of historical art sales, are not investable indices.
You can buy an index fund that replicates the performance of the S&P500. You can’t buy a fund that gives you exposure to the Artnet C50, for example; you’d need billions of dollars and amazing powers of persuasion to prize all the artworks included in the index away from their current owners to achieve that. And as I’ve written before, and as Adam suggests in the Warhol example above, even if you could buy different artworks by all the artists included in the index, they would not be a reliable proxy for its performance.
All these indices are a useful resource as long as people understand the different ways in which they slice and dice the market: you might be following the results of 25 or 50 or 1000 artists. Ultimately, though, they all focus on the best performing slice of the auction market. If we had more data available from online auctions, from private sales at auction houses and from all the traditional dealer and gallery sales conducted worldwide, would the returns posted by art indices actually look better? Perhaps, but given that all this information is missing, it’s impossible to tell.

When we’re looking for useful information about prices in the art market, a lot of the time we’re still searching in the dark.

Credits

Contributor

Australia returns two stolen ancient, priceless idols to India

New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who is on a state visit to India is returning two looted idols seized from Australian museums during a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday.
Abbott is personally delivering the National Gallery of Australia's Rs 30 crore ($5 million) Dancing Shiva or Nataraja Ardand and the Art Gallery of New South Wales's Rs 2 crore ($300,000) Ardhanarishvara to Modi as a "gesture of good will" at a state reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the evening.
Both priceless objects were stolen from temples in India and later sold to the museums by Manhattan dealer Subhash Kapoor, who, his gallery manager has admitted, created falsified ownership documents to hide their illicit origins.
Australia returns two stolen ancient, priceless idols to India

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is personally delivering the Dancing Shiva or Nataraja Ardand and Ardhanarishvara to Narendra Modi.

The Australian returns mark the first major repatriations in the Kapoor case, but are unlikely to be the last. Dozens more Kapoor objects acquired by the Australian museums were sold with false ownership histories similar to those used with the returned objects. Several will likely play a prominent role in Kapoor's criminal trial in Chennai, India, which has been on hold pending the return of the NGA's looted Shiva says an exclusive website for the Hunt for Looted Antiquities in the World's Museums 'Chasing Aphrodite'.
The Tamil Nadu Police had produced evidence to establish that the idol was stolen from a temple at Sripuranthan in Tamil Nadu. They had arrested Kapoor for his alleged involvement in the theft. He is now lodged in the Chennai prison and is facing trial.
Meanwhile, Kapoor's international network of looters and smugglers is still being mapped by authorities in the United States, who have already seized over Rs 600 crore ($100 million) in art from the dealer's Manhattan gallery and storage facilities.
Federal investigators in the United States are methodically working through mountains of evidence seized from Kapoor, probing his ties to a number of American and foreign museums that did business with the dealer. Indian authorities, meanwhile, are considering a broader campaign to reclaim stolen antiquities from foreign institutions.
Over the past two years, we've traced hundreds of suspect Kapoor objects to museums around the world. To date, the Kapoor case has received the most attention in Australia, whose National Gallery for months stonewalled press and government inquiries and dismissed mounting evidence before agreeing to take the stolen idol off display. The Art Gallery of New South Wales took a slightly more proactive approach, releasing the ownership history that Kapoor supplied for its sculpture of Ardhanarishvara (left.) Soon after, Indian art blogger Vijay Kumar identified the temple from which the sculpture was stolen.
The idols have been in the Australian government's possession for months, but their fate remained unclear until today. The According to The Australian, Abbott decided during a July dinner with George Brandis, Australia's Attorney General and Arts Minister, to present the idols to Modi during his two-day state visit to India. "Brandis told him the issue was a potential problem in the relationship between the nation­s and Mr Abbott said returning the statues would be an important statement of goodwill towards the Indian Prime Minister, elected to office in May," the newspaper reported.
Underscoring the diplomatic importance of the returns, Abbott reportedly wanted to have his presidential plane transport the objects directly but they were too heavy and were dispatched on Wednesday by jumbo jet instead.
Meanwhile, the National Gallery officials who played a key role in acquiring the Shiva - despite the warnings of their own attorney - are quietly exiting the scene. Curator Robyn Maxwell, who handled the negotiations with Kapoor, retired quietly last month, the Australian reported. Director Ronald Radford will retire this month, his legacy tarnished by his mishandling of the case. The Art Gallery NSW's Michael Brand, who has taken a more open approach to looting investigations in Australia and previously at the Getty, has been mentioned as a possible successor.

IBNLive.com
Sep 05, 2014 at 10:59am IST

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Barefoot in the Alps


The Swiss have learnt to pronounce Paresh Maity's name almost as well as in his native Bengal. At Art Masters in St Moritz, Switzerland, his Mystic Abode installation of 8,000 temple bells has been placed outside the very snooty and old-world Badrutt's Hotel and commands attention. Jayasri Burman's sculpture of a goddess-like Dharitri with swans has been snapped up by an Italian collector. We've been to the Engadin Museum to view Nalini Malani's video installations, glimpsed Jitish Kallat's 14 Lives, been charmed by Mathias Brunner's film installation based on Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar, appropriately titled The Music Room. I've seen Subodh Gupta's School earlier in New Delhi, but am sorry to miss some of the other Indian artists' works, notably a collective ode to Maximum City.
 Art Masters is celebrating India Week - last year China was featured - and Indian artists are getting a viewing throughout the spread of St Moritz. I am here for the launch of a book on M F Husain, commissioned by the Switzerland-based Stellar International Art Foundation, which has a selection of some of his most iconic series not previously aired, and some of which have been displayed for the first time, whether privately or publicly. Even though Art Masters tends to signify the contemporary, Husain's work is regarded by many as being "fresh". The barefoot artist would have been charmed.
 India aside, there's lots to see even casually across St Moritz. Such as the massive shopping bag installations by different artists consisting of digital prints over aluminium, Loris Hersberger's Dystopia Stalker that resembles a smashed bus shelter, Joel Shapiro's sculpture, Hubert Kiecol's Reise Nach that briefly diverts our attention about the future of art, and another installation at the Kempinski Hotel by Arne Quinze literally worth its weight in 45 kg of gold.
 Art Masters isn't an art fair. Now in its seventh edition, it is a hothouse property simply because it addresses an exclusive community of billionaires and millionaires. Its location makes it easy for the Italians to drive over for casual viewings. For now, it is being viewed simply as another activity on St Moritz's already crowded calendar of programmes. Sponsors bring in the money, even though it is all very discreet in the finest Swiss tradition. There's Mercedes-Benz, for instance, or Leica, Mont Blanc and Cartier, and there's no loss in their target audience simply because of an absence of the hoi-polloi in St Moritz.
 This very exclusivity has stirred interest in the boutique event, made interesting for being small and manageable where art fairs are large and chaotic. Artists and their galleries view this as a prestigious platform, though it's difficult to get in because there are no pavilions to buy, so you have to appeal to its organisers and curators. Groups of visitors such as those brought in by Maserati come for viewings as they might any other attraction, and can turn into spontaneous buyers in an instant. Necessarily, though, much of the art is in the nature of public installations, not something that might easily fit into a city flat.
 How might India feature at Art Masters in future? If this year was any indication, last year's China exposition did little for its presence in 2014. India, then, might not find much place in 2015 but for the presence of the Stellar International Art Foundation which might want to review its gains for Indian art and its own activities from its support this year. If interest in this year's Art Masters was anything to go by, tastes in St Moritz can be eclectic and not defined by provincial nationalism. Could it become the sounding board for the second coming of Indian contemporary art? Don't hold your breath on that one yet.

Kishore Singh  |  New Delhi   August 30, 2014 Last Updated at 00:07 IST

India's education system needs to have an eye on future: K G Subramanyan

PTI | Aug 29, 2014, 07.29PM IST

KOCHI: Education should not be related to something in the past or that has gone by, but must be based on situations that are yet to come, probably in the next ten years, renowned artist K G Subramanyan said.

Subramanyan was speaking at an interactive programme "An Evening with KGS" organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) at the Kerala Folklore Museum, here on Thursday.
 India's art institutions and centres are yet to catch up with the changes brought about by new technologies, he said during a conversation with Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 Curator Jitish Kallat and renowned visual artist Prof Suresh Jayaram.

Artists must make use of the wide range of possibilities offered by visual communication, he said.
 In a career spanning six decades, the artist has won many recognitions and awards including the Padma Vibhushan in 2012, Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Padma Shri in 1975.
 K G Subramanyan, fondly called Mani Da, had been a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts in M.S. University in Baroda till 1980. Later, he joined his alma mater Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University as a professor in painting.

He exhorted art lovers not to gauge an artist by his achievements. KGS also pointed out that some of the works that he at one time did not approve of, have later become acceptable to the people.
 Referring to the art scenario in India, he said India's art culture, for example the murals and Mughal paintings, are very unique in many aspects. "I personally think, Indian artists can do very well, provided they think less about the world outside and more about the world around us," he added.

An active participant of Indian freedom struggle, KGS also shared his experience of art practice at that time which was mainly focussed on nation building.

Meet the saviour of India's heritage

Over the last decade, Kirit Mankodi, a Mumbai-based professor of Archaeology has been working hard to help recover the country’s stolen heritage and create an online profile of stolen Indian artworks

In January 2014, Indian newspapers reported the return of three stolen sculptures — two amorous couples (known as Mithunas in Indian art), and a stone sculpture of a male deity from the US Immigration Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security to the Indian embassy. The three sculptures were valued at $1.5 million (Rs 9 crore). While the news widely featured and was appreciated by all Indian art lovers, very few are aware that it would have been impossible without the efforts of a Mumbai-based professor of Archaeology, Kirit Mankodi.
Rani Ki Vav
In 2001, Rani Ki Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) in Patan, Gujarat, lost two prized sculptures of Hindu gods Ganesha and Brahma. Pic Courtesy/WWW.PLUNDEREDPAST.IN

Earlier, in 2010, Mankodi, an expert on Indian temples and sculptures, had helped Interpol trace the sculptures. He had identified one of the sculptures in an ad for sale in an international magazine. Mankodi immediately wrote emails to the Interpol and US Homeland Security with details about the sculptures, their place of origin and photographs of the site, before and after the theft. He also wrote emails to scholars, museums, art dealers and experts around the world to help locate the second one.
A digitally mastered image of a Buddha sculpture,
A digitally mastered image of a Buddha sculpture, stolen from a protected site in Bilhari, Katni, Madhya Pradesh. While part of the sculpture (right and top) remains attached to the site, the main statue has been missing since 2007.

Lost and foundMankodi, 74, who helped identify and establish the ownership of these sculptures, has since then been writing extensively about stolen artworks via email and on his website Plunderedpast.in. He has managed to create a database of over 15 such thefts, with details about their origin, pictures before and after theft as well as dates of FIR. The list includes sculptures from Sas-Bahu temples at Nagda in Rajasthan (2006), two Buddha sculptures from Bilhari, two stone sculptures of the Hindu god Ganesha and Hindu god Brahma stolen from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rani Ki Vav or the Queen’s Stepwell (underground reservoir) at Patan, Gujarat, in 2001, and many more.
A headless statue at Jina, Kota, Rajasthan
A headless statue at Jina, Kota, Rajasthan. Mankodi says that there are thousands of such headless sculptures in India. “When thieves can’t take away the entire structure, they cut off its head and sell it in the market,” he says.

These are just some of the sculptures that have either been identified or reported lost. Mankodi believes that there would be many more. “I was able to identify these thefts because I had worked on these sites. There could be many more such sculptures, which have been stolen from India, and not reported,” he says. This could be highly possible considering Homeland Security and Interpol recently found artefacts worth over $30 million (Rs 180 crore) stashed at various warehouses owned by the New York-based Indian art dealer, Subhash Kapoor. The art dealer is currently undergoing trial in Tamil Nadu for allegedly stealing artefacts and exporting them outside India. According to the website hasingaphrodite.com, nearly 230 artworks have been traced from Kapoor to some of the most popular galleries in the world, including Australia’s National Gallery of Art (21), Metropolitan Museum of Art (81), Toledo Museum of Art (44), Boston’s Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. The dealings go to several millions of dollars.
Sas Bahu temple
Around four-five of the eight celestial women missing  from the ceiling of the Sas-Bahu temple in Nagda (above) are believed to have been traced to dealers, but bureaucratic laziness has prevented their return.

Art of the matter
“As unfortunate as it is, despite the huge size of the stolen artefact rackets, the Indian government has failed to form any individual organisation to monitor and trace stolen artworks from India,” rues Mankodi. Lack of efforts by the central and state governments inspired Mankodi to start the website. “To prevent such thefts from happening, and retrieve what has already left India, we need awareness. This is our heritage, our culture, and it must be preserved,” he says, adding, “I created the website so anybody — from international organisations, museums and galleries to art dealers, scholars or the common man is aware of such thefts and can alert us or the authorities about them.”

Saving our artefacts
Mankodi relies mostly on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for details on recent thefts, and information from art dealers and other experts. “The ASI is not an investigating agency, so, it can’t investigate thefts. What it does is file an FIR when such a theft is brought to notice. I get all the information — the FIR number, the place from where the theft has taken place, the police station where the FIR is lodged, the date of theft, photograph and description of the artefact — and I put it on the website.”

His efforts have also helped trace two sculptures from Nagda Temple, which an art dealer had bought, unknowingly. The dealer offered to return the sculptures, but there has been no response from the Indian authorities. Mankodi advises all owners of old artefacts, including those inherited from their fathers to register them with the ASI as soon as possible. “Every owner of old artefacts must register it to the authorities under Indian Antiquities Law. But also because it will save you from any trouble, and help relocate in case of a theft. To claim a stolen artwork, you have to provide a link and establish the ownership. And for that, the best thing to do is to register it with ASI,” he adds.

Did you know? "Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the three most vulnerable states in terms of sculpture thefts. These states are rich in temples; many in small villages are often unlocked and unprotected, and hence, vulnerable to thefts. While Tamil Nadu has an active department to look after thefts of artefacts, I am not aware of such organisations run by the other states or the central government," Mankodi informs. Man on a mission

Author of several books on Indian temples and their architecture, Kirit Mankodi graduated in Ancient Indian Culture from St Xavier's College, and holds a MA and PhD in Archaeology from Deccan College, Pune. He has taught at reputed schools and colleges like Pune's Deccan College and College of Indology in Bhopal.

City-based Archeology professor, Kirit Mankodi

He has also authored several papers on the art and architecture of temples in professional journals. When he isn’t teaching or writing books, he is busy working on the website. "The website takes a lot of my time, largely because, before you I have to double check everything before I put it on the website. You cannot post inaccurate information because that would be wrong. Besides, I have to also stay updated on any new developments on the stolen artworks," he signs off.