It is said that the shape of our culture is very much defined by the art of that particularera; that the art and culture are the alter egos of one another. An artwork hence embodiesa past, a history in itself. Loss of any art is thus a loss of history, a loss of the spirit of time.Though there was always a realization of importance of documentation, there are particularreasons, especially in the art realm, for a work to be completely erased from human memory,once it is lost or destroyed. As saying goes - once something is out of sight, it is out of mind.Despite all the efforts to preserve art, since time immemorial, numerous works of arthave been destroyed either during a military coup, or when the ruling regime is in generaldisagreement with the philosophy of that work itself. In the past century, however, withthe advent of technology, there has been a major drive to preserve and learn more aboutthe past than ever before. Robert Adams in his book The Lost Museum says —“We knowthe past better than the past knew itself.” Through the invention of camera, video films,photo copiers & fax, art was granted an immortal youth. It seemed that art and history hadfinally found a guardian.
Early 1980s witnessed another uproar, a great effort to preserve art, history and vanishingcultures, this time using advanced and highly sophisticated modern technologies. In 1982,a number of museums around the world joined hands to form The Council for Documentationof Lost Art & Cultural Heritage (CDLACH), with the primary aim to document andpreserve record of artworks, particularly those that had been lost or destroyed. Much ofthe existing documentation was converted into electronic database, forming the largestelectronic archive of lost art and culture to date.