Art

Watch: Meet India’s new museum makers

The people who are helping build a thriving museum-going culture in India, with spaces that focus on experiences, embrace technology and connect with young audiences

Fresh approaches are making a difference: like The Heritage Lab’s 2019 campaign, These Mughal Women, where people were invited, through contests, to share an object from a museum related to women in the Mughal court. Or new spaces, such as the interactive Indian Music Experience museum in Bengaluru, where you can tap, hum into and interact with musical installations. “World over, museums have been colonial projects, categorising and organising subjects in different ways. But new museums are designed as experiences rather than a collection of objects because they’ve come up in the technology-driven, social media age,” says Parmesh Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab.

Today, a pop-up museum can be as deep and meaningful as a permanent one, he asserts, reflecting the times we are living in, where Instagram stories are no less important than posts. “Both pop-up and permanent museums are re-imagining subjectivity, agency, and democratising the idea of a museum — through exhibition design, architecture and their participatory nature,” he adds, pointing to their own three-day ‘Museum of Memories: Remembering Partition’ pop-up in Mumbai, which had packed in collaborative exhibitions (including one with crowd-sourced objects).

The birth of private museums is also a welcome change in a landscape dotted with government-owned institutions, says textile designer and curator Mayank Mansingh Kaul. “The latter offer limited opportunities to a new generation of curators. And they often have their own permanent collections, restricting their ability to host travelling exhibitions. New museums can help fill these gaps,” he says.

Moreover, at a time when the country’s rich, multi-layered history is being bulldozed by a saffron agenda, and people’s very identities are being called into question, museums are the ideal spaces to look back at our shared yet diverse roots, and celebrate how India is a mix of many.

Here are some of the country’s new and upcoming museums and their makers.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:22:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/meet-indias-new-museum-makers/article30651667.ece

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