Staff Reporter

Exhibition conducted to celebrate the Madras Week

CHENNAI: It was a testament to the number of ways a city could be portrayed.

It let people look back on the history of a land through letters, documents and pictures. It showcased photographs of scenes unique to the city, pencil drawings of old, elegant buildings, and pictures of currency from when it all began.

History merged with art at an exhibition conducted to celebrate Madras Week at the Lalit Kala Akademi here on Tuesday. Organised by the Association of British Scholars (ABS), the exhibition was inaugurated by R.B. Bhaskaran, a founder member of the ABS and Chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) displayed currency produced by the Bank of Madras, and exhibited pictures of coins and notes produced by the British government in India.

Busts and profiles of Queen Victoria, King George VI and various others graced the pictures of the half, one-twelfth and four anna pieces as well as the ten thousand rupee notes.

S. Radhakrishnan, Assistant Manager, RBI, Chennai, said that at first notes were issued by private banks that were only valid in the provinces they were issued in. It was only after 1861 that the Government started issuing currency. Also, there were posters on how to identify fake notes and those listing the features of a genuine note. “An informed customer is an asset to any institution,” he said, adding that the exhibition was part of RBI’s effort to create an awareness of counterfeit currency.

The Tamil Nadu Archives set the story of the city along three walls, beginning with the establishment of the city in 1639. Letters between government officials, a picture of the then Fort St. George, and documents relating to the establishment of Madras Medical College were showcased. Exquisite pencil drawings faithfully reproducing every groove of a building and every curve of a leaf adorned one wall of the Akademi. Created by Manohar Devadoss, they portrayed the Armenian Church, the Government Museum, Presidency College and various other buildings in the city. Photographer Karthik Venkataraman had displayed some of his work.

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