Joyeeta Das







By Joyeeta Das

And thus with a whirlwind ride and a swishing ending

Pablo Picasso said ” The purpose of art is to wash the daily dust of our lives” but it is a particularly tedious challenge for those with heavy business dust settling in deep crevices of their being, thanks to “corporate finance” and ” entrepreneurship ” and ” strategy” and “decision making tools ” etc etc etc.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my business but a cup of ceramic from an ancient Ming dynasty with some terrific plaster casts from ancient Greece and the bust of a beautiful man from a few hundred years ago (that was repaired many times by different Kings) does finely too – for a relaxing , refreshing , beautiful afternoon.

The MBA class went to the Ashmolean Museum for a trip down the “historic” ( or pre-historic? ) lane and came back rejuvenated after an hour and a half. It was a small time capsule which captured images of leadership across ages – and helped us discover how beautifully translucent pottery from Worcester factory can be inspiring or that outsourcing existed even hundreds of years ago when English men sent the image of the Oxford Botanical Garden to Chinese factories to have custom made dinner plates with images on them.

What a tremendous change from an afternoon of excel-sheets to an afternoon discussing how different painters expressed their art in ancient world.

Thank you Katherine Murrray and Annie from Arts OBN for organising this exquisite time-machine!

And before you judge us – there were business lessons too!

The incredibly sweet natured curator who (God Knows how) – spent hours giving tours to several batches of MBA students with immense and consistent patience- explained how two emperors were painted by two different painters. The overtly decorated nice portrait wasn’t the one that captures power , it seems the one with less number of distracting things in background that captures the emperor in stark  back suit with a pillar in the background -actually does capture the true impression of power. The more experienced painter knew ; “like Steve Jobs in a black turtle neck with nothing behind him” ; how to portray an image that captures the image of sheer power and grandeur whereas the newbie just painted the emperor and decorated him with an obviously ornate piece of robe and a fancy background.

Well- design thinking existed that long ago – who knew.

And thus with a whirlwind ride and a swishing ending – Mr Curator then left us at the exit of the Ashmolean leaving us with many an image of history that we never knew before and an afternoon full of historical images jostling for space with parallel business constructs in modern day history. What a day!




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