Sarmaya’s Head of Collections, Komal Chitnis leads and manages all aspects related to the systematisation, care and access to the collection. She works closely with colleagues across areas to ensure that varied facets of the Sarmaya collection are used well in research, curation, content development and creation of learning opportunities. She has a Masters in Archaeology and Museum Studies. In the past, she has worked on projects with Pune’s INTACH chapter, the New Walk Museum in Leicester, the Oriental Museum of Durham University, and Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. She is interested in developing new models of access to collections and interpretive strategies in museums.
As the Collections Associate, Diksha supports the care, access, and organization of the Sarmaya Collection. She facilitates
object storage, cataloging, and documentation and coordinates new acquisitions at the archive. Working closely with the curatorial team, Diksha contributes to the research and development of various curatorial projects and exhibitions. Her interest lies in making museum collections accessible and creating representations for marginalized histories. Before joining Sarmaya, Diksha worked at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and Cipla Archives, engaging with digitization processes, educational workshops, and oral histories. She holds a Master's degree in Archaeology from Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute and is keenly interested in studying iconologies in Visual Art.
Aparna Ramachandran is trained as a landscape archaeologist. In the past 11+ years, she has worked across diverse fields, such as and documentation, museum planning, heritage education and outreach, oral history and archiving. As Head of Programming at Sarmaya, Aparna leads and organises regular programmes, researches and curates collections-based content, and implements and supports exhibitions. She strongly believes that collections shouldn’t be limited to enclosed spaces and select audiences, but should instead be disseminated to the larger public through creative storytelling.
As a Content Associate, Rishi Kochhar is tasked with ideation and creation of content for our social media channels. In collaboration with the curatorial team, he selects objects and stories from the archive that can be showcased across our digital platforms and in the Sarmaya newsletter. An architect by training, Rishi holds a Master of Design in Photography Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. As a photographer, his practice is concerned with issues of identity and memory, and how these two interact—and are inextricably linked—with geography. He focuses on long-term personal projects, looking both within and without, while also pursuing more traditional social-documentary themes. Rishi’s work has been exhibited at Kochi Biennale 2022-23 as part of Chennai Photo Biennale's 'Communities of Choice' showcase; and Angkor Photo Festival’s ‘Alumni Curates’ project in 2020. He also received the jury commendation at the Toto-Tasveer Awards in 2019.
As a Research and Curatorial Assistant, Pooja Ashokkumar works closely with the team and contributes to the research of all Sarmaya projects. She also assists in the archiving and documentation of the collection and manages the Sarmaya library. She has a keen interest in researching shadow puppets, photography and rare books that are part of the Sarmaya collection. She has previously worked as a Professor of History at Patkar-Varde College and HVPS College of Law in Mumbai. Her interests lie in exploring and learning more about indigenous folk forms, ancient art, architecture and philosophy, mythology and oral histories.
As a designer in the content team at Sarmaya, Jahanjeet Banerjee ideates and creates visual content weaving together stories around the collection for Sarmaya's curatorial and outreach projects. He also designs and animates educational modules and learning packs for Sarmaya's educational outreach. An animation graduate from Srishti Manipal School of Art, Design and Technology, Jahnjeet is excited and led by his interest in people, community histories and translating it into stories. He has previously worked at Levensloop, a brand marketing organisation and worked as Communications Officer at C3, a not for profit organisation.
As Administrative Head, Eleanor plans, coordinates and oversees all administrative and financial processes at Sarmaya. With a degree in hospitality management, Eleanor chose a corporate career, gaining experience in management and administration at prominent media houses and in the hospitality sector for over 15 years before moving to Sarmaya. A result-oriented person, Eleanor has tremendous organisational skills and supports all projects, events and workshops conducted by Sarmaya.