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‘MAP’s digital launch is the birth of a new museum for a new era’, says its founder-trustee Abhishek Poddar

A week-long festival inaugurates the virtual opening of Bengaluru-based Museum of Art & Photography, showing how varied art forms are interconnected and enrich each other

Written by Vandana Kalra | New Delhi |
November 27, 2020 7:10:15 pm
Krishna Eating the Fire by Manjit Bawa, c 1980 (Photo: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP))

Touted as one of South India’s largest private art museums – with over 18,000 artworks, primarily from the collection of Abhishek Poddar – the opening of Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) might have been postponed due to COVID, but the Bengaluru-based museum has been engaging with the audience nevertheless. If in May the digital art project “Bouquet of Hope” invited people to share photographs of flowers with a message, on December 5 the museum will launch digitally with a week-long festival, “Art (is) Life”.

“Our vision at MAP has always been to reach out to people from all walks of life and make the collection available to the world. Then why should we wait for a physical museum to come up? Launching digitally is the next step for MAP to achieve its agenda of inclusion and accessibility. In challenging times such as these, museums and cultural institutions need to rethink and reinvent themselves to be truly relevant. MAP’s digital launch is the birth of a new museum for a new era,” says Abhishek Poddar, Founder-Trustee of MAP.

Textile label produced for Petlad Sayaji Dye Works, Petlad, Gujarat, c. 1870. (Photo: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP))

While the festival will largely respond to the museum collection, dating from the 10th century to the present, on an inaugural day, on December 5, art, poetry, dance and music will come together with a programme that includes lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Shabana Azmi, classical dancer Malavika Sarukkai, film and theatre professional Arundhati Nag, art historian BN Goswamy, filmmaker Nandita Das, artist Jitish Kallat and singer Kavita Seth.

The launch will also see MAP collaborate with 50 international institutions to juxtapose a pair of objects from their collections with MAP. Titled “Museums Without Borders”, the project collaborators include British Museum, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and Rhode School of Design. “Art (is) Life is a culmination of everything we hope for the museum to be,” says Kamini Sawhney, Director of MAP, “The opening programme will showcase how the arts are interconnected and each enriches the other. This is reflective of the museum’s vision to draw connections across the collection creating unique narratives. We are always working on creative ways to bring art to everyone and the launch programme of commissioned performances and collaborations with international institutions are a sneak peek for what is to come with MAP.”

Computer class, St. Joseph’s High School in Mysore, 2001. (Photo: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP))

READ| How art restoration could, at times, do more harm than good

Through the week

Portrait of a Barasingha, c. 1980-1990. (Photo: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP))

December 6 – Focus on “Popular Culture”, with a presentation by Lillete Dubey, actor and theatre director. Drummers from Dharavi, Mumbai, will respond to Bollywood posters on the theme of migration and the pandemic.

December 7 – Directed by Sharanya Ramprakash, artists of Udupi Yakshagana Kendra will reimagine an artwork from MAP’s collection depicting a fight between Jatayu and Ravana, from Ramayana. Highlighting the museum’s “Folk and Tribal” collection, the day will also see a presentation by author Devdutt Pattanaik.

Krishna Jasoda by Jamini Roy, undated. (Photo: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP))

December 8 – Focus on “Pre Modern Art”, presentation by historian William Dalrymple. Madhu Nataraj, Director of STEM Dance Kampni and the Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography, and her troupe will respond to Amrut Manthana and a Nayika painting from MAP’s collection.

December 9 – Focus on “Textile, Craft & Design” and presentation by designer Ritu Kumar. Musician Rajeev Raja and his band will respond to Krishna Pichwais through a jazz-fusion musical piece.

December 10 – Presentation by artist Rekha Rodwittiya, and focus on “Modern & Contemporary”. Dancers from the Attakkalari Dance Company will respond to nine unique works on Goddess Durga by female Indian artists, including Arpita Singh, Anjolie Ela Menon and Nalini Malani.

December 11 – Presentation by photographer Raghu Rai. Focus on “Photography” and theatre artist Ram Ganesh Kamatham will respond to Vivek Vilasini’s Last Supper, through a performance.

All performances will be held at 7 pm. Register on: http://www.artislife.events

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