Air India to use software to keep record of art collection

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The airline has kept an accession register and would also conduct physical verification of the artefacts. (Representational photo/Files)

In order to keep a better record of its art inventory, Air India plans to link every artefact in its possession with a Unique Identification Number (UIN). This will help the national carrier store details and whereabouts of its collection in a scientific manner, officials said. The airline will display artworks and paintings by more than 300 artists in an upcoming gallery expected to be located at its Nariman Point office in south Mumbai. The matter of protecting its collection came up after one of its paintings was reported to be missing and later retrieved from a former AI official, who couriered it to the company.

To ensure clarity in maintaining records, officials from the carrier said they have now developed an in-house software to store details of the collection. While the software was being developed since last year, it will be put to use now. “It is a user-friendly software that was being developed by our technical team. The software allows us to keep a database of the collection in our possession,” an official said.

The airline has kept an accession register and would also conduct physical verification of the artefacts. Since 2016, the airline has conducted a detailed audit of the collection, which includes its classification and proper storage. “The software will allow us to digitally record the artefacts in our possession. These vary from paintings, glass material to textile products. The number will be a barcode-like system, which will help identify the location and details of each item,” the official added. Officials further stated the numbering procedure would be commenced from this month.

Committee to check on former AI staffers

An internal committee of Air India is preparing a list of former employees who are suspected of siphoning off artwork, an official spokesperson from the airline said. No action will be initiated against the officials if the artworks are returned. “The internal committee has started to prepare a list of missing artwork and suspected former employees who might have them in their possession. The airline had started to lend out artwork of its vast collection to top executives in the past on a condition that they be returned back to the company on retirement,” an official spokesperson from the airline said.