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Defaced Donation Leads to Exhibition Exploration

Imagining Our Future Together: South Asia Artists Exhibition catalogue
Imagining Our Future Together: South Asia Artists Exhibition catalogue

This is a post written by Rita O’Hara who works at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library.

In February, Richard Koshalek, the Hirshhorn Museum director donated to the library a copy of The World Bank exhibition catalog entitled Imagining Our Future Together: South Asia Artists. The exhibit featured the winners of a regional art competition organized by the World Bank’s South Asia vice presidency and the World Bank Art Program. This gift of the catalog led to a reconnection with a former classmate and a field trip to The World Bank.

Defaced page
Defaced pages found in exhibition catalog listing the curators.


When I was reviewing the catalog, pictured right, I found energetic notes scrawled across several pages of the exhibition catalog, along with a torn page.Realizing the publication was too damaged, I thought the addition of this catalog a lost cause. While flipping through the first pages, I saw a familiar name, Elena Grant, the Guest Joint Curator. Elena was a fellow student from the History of Decorative Arts Program with the Corcoran College of Art and Design and The Smithsonian Associates where we both received Masters Degrees. Having Elena’s personal email address from my days in school, I emailed her to let her know we had received a damaged catalog copy and would like a replacement.

Elena was delighted to learn we were interested in receiving the catalog for the library collection. She mentioned she had used the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden library for some of her research for this exhibition. Elena was not only gracious in providing another copy of the publication, but also several other exhibition catalogs, along with an opportunity for the library staff to take a private guided tour of the exhibition. She offered us a private tour of the exhibition and lunch with her at The World Bank cafeteria on February 12th.

Elena Grant, Guest Joint Curator
Untitled, 2009. Oil on acrylic hemisphere. Muhammad Junaid. Pakistan
On right: Elena Grant, Guest Joint Curator, The World Bank Art Program

Many of the winning artists from the exhibition gathered January 22nd for the opening Panel Discussion: Imagining Our Future Together which included The World Bank South Asia Vice President Isabel Guerrero, Chief Economist Kaushik Basu, and Art Curator Marina Galvani, as well as Hirshhorn Museum Director Richard Koshalek and artists Jignasha Ojha and Liz Fernando. The exhibition included works from 25 artists who represent Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. A video recording of the panel discussion is available on The World Bank site:




A digital exhibition catalog of Imagining Our Future Together: South Asia Artists is available at:

To learn more about the exhibition which closed February 13th, see the press release on The World Bank site:


  1. I wouldn’t call that “defaced,” I’d call it “annotated.” Were you able to find out who was responsible for the notes and highlightings? Were you able to figure out their purpose? Scholars of the future are likely to find this more richly revelatory than the pristine copy you replaced it with.

  2. Elena Grant

    I agree, notes make this copy a more exciting document. They must be by Richard Koshalek, from the meeting before the panel, link to which Rita provides in the end of her story.

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