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Brayton Wilbur Jr. Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art

Asia Foundation Trustee Judith Wilbur has generously established a fellowship in Asian Art in honor of her late husband and former Trustee, Brayton Wilbur, Jr. The fellowship stems from the Wilburs' deep interest in Asian art, nurtured through their residence and travel in the region, and their commitment to the work of The Asia Foundation and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (AAM). The two institutions are collaborating in the program's execution, with AAM identifying qualified fellowship recipients, and The Asia Foundation's Asian American Exchange unit responsible for overall administration.

The program's purpose is to contribute to the professional enhancement of specialists in Asian curatorial art within AAM and other selected art institutions in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Each year, one specialist from Asia or London, England will be selected to spend four to six weeks at AAM; in turn, an AAM staff member or specialist from another art institution in the U.S. will be placed for a similar period.

Mr. Kong Vireak, Director of the Department of Museums, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

January 2014
Mr. Kong examined and identified artifacts in the Asian Art Museum's collection of Cambodian art and studied the curatorial approaches to several exhibitions in Bay Area arts institutions. A specialist in archaeology, Mr. Kong worked with the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor (JSA) and has taught archaeological excavation methods and theory at the Faculty of Archaeology in Phnom Penh.

Mr. Nyunt Han, Senior Researcher, Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Bangkok, Thailand

December 2013
Formerly the Director-General of the Department of Archaeology under the Ministry of Culture in Myanmar, Mr. Han conducted research and identified artifacts in the Asian Art Museum's collection of Burmese art during his two-week professional affiliation.  A specialist in archaeology in Myanmar, Mr. Han has supervised excavations in ancient cities and the conservation of many ancient monuments and mural paintings.

Ms. Qudsia Zohab, Head of Ethnography Department, National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul

November 2013
As a follow-on to the program for Mr. Omara Masoudi, Director of the National Museum in 2012, the Asia Foundation arranged a one-week internship for Ms. Zohab at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (CSMVS) in Mumbai, India, where she studied textile conservation and restoration practices.

Mr. Omara Masoudi, Director, the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul

December 2012
Director Masoudi completed a two-week professional affiliation at the Asian Art Museum where he examined museum management with an emphasis on public education and outreach programs, and the conservation and registration of artifacts. He also visited other museums in the Bay Area to further address these topics, and met with members of the local Afghan community. He said the fellowship experience inspired him to start a department of public relations at the National Museum to do outreach programs to the community and expand public education programs.

Ms. Vandana Prapanna, Senior Curator, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai, India

May-June 2012
Ms. Prapanna conducted comparative research on manuscript folios of Indian miniature paintings in the collection of the AAM and CSMVS. As a result of her visit, the Laur Chandran manuscript will be shown online for the first time in its entirety. While the CSMVS owns most of the folios of the manuscript, the rest are in the collections of the AAM and several other museums.

Mr. Richard Blurton, Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, the British Museum, London, the United Kingdom

March-April, 2012
Mr. Blurton's research at the Asian Art Museum focused on the visual representations of narrative traditions in Indian and Southeast Asian art in the Museum's significant collection. He examined the depictions of religious and narrative concepts in the paintings, textiles and sculptures housed in both AAM and the British Museum.

Mr. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (CSMVS), Mumbai, India
Dr. Amara Srisuchat, Senior Curator, Bangkok National Museum, Bangkok

Director's Forum, November 2011
Mr. Mukherjee and Dr. Srisuchat participated in the first Directors' Forum organized by the Asian Art Museum. The event brought together leaders in the art field from Asia and the United States to consider strategic partnerships and collaborations. At the Forum, Mr. Mukherjee and Dr. Srisuchat discussed various aspects of museum management in their countries, including challenges in conservation, institutional cooperation in programming and staff exchanges.

Inaugural Fellows

In December, 2009, Dr. Forrest McGill, the Asian Art Museum's Chief Curator and Wattis Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, and Dr. Qamar Adamjee, Associate Curator, visited India to re-connect with directors of that nation's most prominent museums. They also identified subsequent recipients of the Brayton Wilbur, Jr. fellowship from India to the U.S.

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