Bengaluru to host south India's first private museum

Cheer for art lovers as Bengaluru to host south India's first private museum

City will host south India's first major private art museum. Credit: DH file photo.

Bengaluru is set to host south India's first major private art museum which will have its digital launch with a week-long virtual festival from December 5 to 11 to celebrate various art forms.

The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) was planned to be opened in December but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the delay. While the physical site, a five-storey building on Kasturba Road, will open next year, the MAP will go online, with the founders hoping that the easy accessibility will bring more people to appreciate art in its various forms.

With a growing collection of over 18,000 artworks, predominantly from the subcontinent and dating from the 10th century to the present, MAP will set the bar high, not only in the sheer number of works on display but also the reach.

Stressing the inclusive nature of MAP, founder-trustee Abhishek Poddar said Covid-19 and the lockdown made them reflect on how people interacted with the online space.

"We began looking at how we could engage with our online communities," said Poddar. "From interactive digital engagement pieces to taking our Art and Culture lecture series online and enhancing our website to feature more content, we experimented with different things in a bid to understand our audiences better. And in doing that we noticed a sharp increase in the number of people interacting with MAP online." 

Taking the museum online, Poddar said, will bring more people to art. "There is clearly a desire in people to learn more about art, even among those who might sometimes find a physical museum or gallery either intimidating or boring," he said, adding that the virtual platform is envisioned as another site of the physical museum.

MAP Director Kamini Sawhney said the 'Art (is) Life' festival that will take off on December 5 will attempt to take art back into the heart of community. "The programming has been conceived around the interconnections between the arts and how each has enriched the other. Each day presents a range of perpsectives - from expert introductions to a tour of artworks - so everyone can find something to enjoy," she said.

The opening night will feature art, poetry, dance and music coming together in an exploration of the musem. Well known Indian cultural figures Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Malavika Sarukkai, Arundhati Nag, Nandita Das will grace the opening.

To attend the Art (is) Life Festival, register at www.artislife.events.