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New Delhi, Feb 20 – With the opening of the MAP Museum of Art & Photography, located in a cutting-edge building in South India’s capital city of Bangalore, on Saturday, February 18, 2023, one of India’s outstanding collections of South Asian art will be made public.
MAP is the creation of philanthropist and collector Abhishek Poddar, who also donated the initial collection. It serves as a global beacon for South Asian arts and culture. Kamini Sawhney, the Museum’s director, is in charge.
With a focus on the modern and contemporary, the collection of more than 60,000 works spans a broad range and includes textiles, indigenous art, and memorabilia from India’s renowned Bollywood industry in addition to paintings, sculptures, and graphics. It purposefully straddles the line between what is considered high art and the commonplace ingenuity of the local communities. With an emphasis on the era from the middle of the nineteenth century up until the present, the photography collection is one of the most diverse in India.
Speaking about its purpose, Abhishek Poddar, Founder and Trustee of MAP, said: “As someone who has had the privilege of being surrounded by art all my life, and encountered the ideas of artists from an early age, I came to the realisation that I must share this transformative experience with others. My hope for MAP is that it can reach people, especially the next generation, in whose hands our future is held. More than half of our population are under 25 years old; no country has more young people. I believe they are the ones, the generation of change, who will eventually be the real curators of MAP.”
Kamini Sawhney, Director of MAP, said: “South Asian cultures represent the cultures of nearly a quarter of the world’s population and yet our stories have not been told. At MAP, we are able to draw on the rich resources of our collection as well as commissioning new work from artists, to tell those stories and to speak especially to a young generation whose visual experiences are so greatly influenced by the digital world. We don’t just want to share the undeniable beauty of art, through our programme we want to consider the urgent issues in society that we all face, using art’s power to spark new debates and give us new insights into our own lives.”
A landmark 44,000 square foot building for MAP, designed by Bangalore-based architects Mathew & Ghosh, houses five galleries, a cafe, a rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views, a 130-seat auditorium, a library with a wealth of information on Indian art and culture that is open to students and researchers, as well as a conservation centre for the preservation and care of artwork.
The Museum opens with four exhibitions, and a series of new commissions:
VISIBLE/INVISIBLE, examining the role of women in art through the MAP Collection, the exhibition is curated by Kamini Sawhney and the curatorial team, and features more than 130 works, including new commissions and works by leading Indian artists such as Jamini Roy, Bhupen Khakhar, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Ravinder Reddy, Arpita Singh, M.F. Husain. This exhibition is also accompanied by a 240-page fully illustrated catalogue.
Time & Time Again, the first major survey of photographs by acclaimed Indian artist Jyoti Bhatt featuring more than 160 photographs as well as contact sheets and archival materials which chart Bhatt’s photographic journey during the second half of the 20th century. Curated by Nathaniel Gaskell, Director of MAP Academy, with an accompanying illustrated monograph.
MAP also presents a solo show of the artist LN Tallur, who was born in the State of Karnataka, where MAP is located, and who now lives and works between India and South Korea.
A group of sculptures that depict rishis and yoginis, by celebrated British sculptor, Stephen Cox, made in Indian basalt, are installed in MAP’s Subhedar Family Sculpture Courtyard.
Sculptural commissions by renowned artist and designer Arik Levy, together with works by two of India’s leading contemporary artists, Ayesha Singh and Tarik Currimbhoy, are on display in key locations across the museum.
upported by Bangalore’s advanced technologies, the new museum is built on the foundations of a pioneering digital format, which was launched in 2020. This includes virtual exhibitions, artists talks, virtual reality experiences, and a series of keynote conversations with international museum directors highlighting the collections. The museum experience for MAP’s visitors is augmented with digital interventions, including the Sasken Multimedia Gallery, enabling the entirety of MAP’s collection to remain accessible, even when specific works are not on display.
Linked to the museum, MAP Academy launched in 2022, under the direction of Nathaniel Gaskell, is an online resource making available South Asian art histories. The Academy offers online courses and access to its rapidly developing encyclopaedia of art history from the region.