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Pankaj Protim Bordoloi

Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum (President House) Art Collection and Museum, India

Deputy Director

Country: India

ITP Year: 2018


Pankaj is currently the Deputy Director of Rashtrapati Bhavan (President House) Art Collection & Museum, New Delhi, India. He joined Rashtrapati Bhavan in February 2014, and he was instrumental in all aspects of the establishment of the museum. Exhibition design, curation, collection research, and documentation of the museum were all supervised by him. He worked closely with former ICOM President Dr. Saroj Ghose, who was the Museum Adviser to the President of India.

Pankaj manages the curatorial and educational programmes of the art collection along with all management and outreach activities. He is one of the members of the International Working Group for the Reimaging British Museum Project, which is advising British Museum in its ambitious overhauling project. He was a recipient of the fellowship granted by the Dutch Government and Reintwardt Academy & Rijksmuseum on the programme ‘Sharing Stories on Contested Histories.’ He is a doctoral candidate at Indira Gandhi National Tribal University where he is trying to understand the true representation of tribal identity and ethnicity in social institutions like museums in the event of many agents of social change such as religious conversion, displacement, etc. He also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Folklore and Cultural Studies from a central university in India.

Pankaj has undertaken a few important projects over the years in Rashtrapati Bhavan. A massive digitization and documentation project is going on for the collection. He has successfully commissioned life-size oil portraits of three Indian Presidents and also commissioned bust-size bronze statues of them. A successful Artist-in-Residency programme was organized by him where 10 emerging artists worked together with 10 established eminent artists of the country, the art works were also exhibited in the exhibition hall.

Mural paintings of the iconic state corridor were also undertaken by incorporating new artistic elements. A massive restoration project is going on in Rashtrapati Bhavan in a phased manner. In the first phase, the famous Pictorial Maps of Cabinet Room done by Percy Brown were restored. The high walls of the Cabinet Room are adorned with air and marine routes connecting India. They were modeled on the 11-17th century art of Cartography.

Two new galleries ‘Janajatiya Darpan’ (Tribal Art Gallery) & ‘Sutra Kala Darpan’ (Textile and Tapestries Gallery) were established in the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises which were conceptualised and designed by Pankaj.

The Presidential Estates in Rashtrapati Nilayam, Hyderabad and Mashobra, Shimla were open to the public in 2023, Pankaj has spearheaded the idea of converting the old heritage motor garage of the President by restoring it to a knowledge Gallery. The gallery depicts the history heritage and other important aspects of Rashtrapati Nilayam. He has engaged a team to restore the old kitchen tunnel and also adorned its walls with a traditional art form called Cheriyal Art along with traditional masks. Two Old rock boulders of RB Nilayam were engraved with Dakshinamurti Shiva (Lord Shiva) along with his mount Nandi. In Mashrobra, new artworks were displayed showing the rich cultural diversity of the Himachal region.

Pankaj is currently working on the project of establishing an indigenous people museum on Rashtrapati Bhavan premises.

He has successfully organised exhibitions of artifacts and photographs for the visiting Head of the States such as Egypt, Oman, France, etc showing the bilateral relations of both the countries. Exhibitions on 75 years of India’s independence and other themes, disaster management workshops, musical evenings such as Sharad Sanskritik Sandhya (Autumn Cultural Evening), and different workshops were organised for community participation and museum outreach programme.

Pankaj regularly writes about art, heritage, and history both in English and Assamese, his mother tongue. His collection of articles “Anuprexon” (The Observation) was published in 2022-23. Pankaj has an interest in Modern Indian history, Indian popular art, art history, cultural heritage & museum management. He is known for his cultural and heritage advocacy works and is a voice of the sector. He also has numerous research publications in many prestigious journals. He is regularly invited to deliver lectures and also as a panelist in many academic discussions.

Before joining Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, Pankaj was the Deputy Curator of the Sanskriti Museums, a confluence of three museums namely Sanskriti Museum of Indian Terracotta, Sanskriti Museum of Everyday Art, and Sanskriti Museum of Indian Textile. He also coordinated the International Artist in Residency programme of Sanskriti Foundation. He extensively researched Indian Popular Art & Indian Textile and was also a member of the curatorial team of many exhibitions in Sanskriti.

He lives in New Delhi with his wife and spends his leisure by playing mandolin and doing charity work.

At the British Museum
During his time on the International Training Programme, Pankaj was based in the Asia Department and spent his partner placement at Manchester MuseumManchester Art Gallery & Whitworth Art Gallery.

In 2018 participants were asked to plan and propose a temporary exhibition, drawing on their existing museum experience and the skills learnt during the programme.  Pankaj worked with Mustafa Okan Cinemre (Turkey) on his Object in focus project, Boats: Journey of Civilisations.

Pankaj’s place on the International Training Programme was generously supported by the RA Association.

Legacy Projects
In 2020, Pankaj attended the International Training Programme’s series of online subject specialist sessions. Pankaj attended:
Circulating Artefacts: A global platform against the looting and trafficking of cultural property
Collecting COVID-19
Socio-economic Impact Assessment for Heritage: Why Do We Need to Learn This?
International copyright and artist’s rights
Setting up a Subject Specialist Network (SSN)
Outreach at Glasgow Museums – what now?
Egyptology in Lockdown: Connecting collections with isolated people

In 2023 the British Museum hosted an event in celebration of the International Training Programme and the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust’s vital support of the programme over the years. Pankaj delivered a speech at the event to share his experiences of the ITP and the work he has gone on to do since completing the programme.

Continued Dialogue
Pankaj is now part of the Reimagining the British Museum International Working Group (IWG) which has invited international museum and cultural heritage experts to collaborate with the Museum and support the development of outline briefs for new suites of permanent galleries at the British Museum through online monthly meetings and workshops in London.