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Adapting to ‘new normal’: With free entry on weekends, Delhi events, museums hope to attract patrons

While the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) will open its doors on January 5, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) has planned a series of programmes, including free weekend visits, at the museum.

Written by Vandana Kalra | New Delhi | January 5, 2021 4:30:04 am
National Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Modern Art reopens, National Gallery of Modern Art opens again, National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, National Gallery of Modern Art opening, pandemic, National Gallery of Modern Art welcomes visitors, Indian Express newsLike all public spaces, adhering to the rules of the ‘new normal’ are compulsory -- from maintaining at least six feet distance to mandatory use of face masks and frequent use of hand sanitisers. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

As museums across the world record reduced footfall amid the pandemic, art institutions closer home are trying to reinvent the experience to attract more patrons.

While the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) will open its doors on January 5, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) has planned a series of programmes, including free weekend visits, at the museum.

“This is a new phase in the life of the museum. As we all readjust our lives and continue the fight with the virus, a slow reclaiming of our public spaces is part of our emotional, mental and physical recovery,” said Kiran Nadar, founder and chairperson, KNMA.

Adwaita Gadanayak, director general of NGMA, agreed. Launching the programme “Weekends in NGMA” with a dance troupe from Manipur and the beats of the drum on January 2, he also pointed to the role of art in relieving stress. Under the initiative, NGMA will be open to the public free of cost every weekend.

Several activities are also being planned, including art and photography workshops, film screenings, curated gallery tours and cultural performances. Eminent authors, poets and artists will be invited to interact with the audience.

On the inaugural day, artist Jatin Das was seen teaching the nuances of sketching. “The idea is to engage with the audience and remove inhibitions. For many, art is still intimidating. We want to create a relaxed atmosphere, where people feel at ease,” added Gadanayak.

Like all public spaces, adhering to the rules of the ‘new normal’ are compulsory — from maintaining at least six feet distance to mandatory use of face masks and frequent use of hand sanitisers. KNMA will only allow visitors by appointment, and at the NGMA the events will be spread across the lawns.

While KNMA has been actively planning virtual workshops and DIY sessions on its social media handles, a live walkthrough of current exhibitions was conducted by Roobina Karode, director and chief curator, KNMA, on January 4.

Planned for next weekend at NGMA is a Kathak performance and another by students from the Gandharva Choir, a pottery workshop and a sketching class. The museum cafeteria and store are also being revamped. The upcoming calendar year at the national institution, meanwhile, includes retrospectives of Nandalal Bose, Ramkinker Baij and Amrita Sher-Gil, and an exhibition of Tantra Art.

An art residency is also being planned at The Red Fort in March and an immersive workshop and exhibition will take place in Srinagar. “We want to encourage interaction between different art traditions, forms as well as indigenous and contemporary artists,” said Gadanayak.

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