Ghare Baire, the popular museum-exhibition in Kolkata that showcased two centuries of art in Bengal and was housed in a building almost as old, is shutting down on Sunday after enriching the cultural landscape of the city for nearly two years.
The announcement was sudden, with DAG Museums, a private entity that ran the show in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Archaeological Survey of India (both under the Culture Ministry), issuing a statement on Friday that they would be downing the shutters of Ghare Baire on November 28. According to sources, DAG Museums’ contract with the Ministry for Ghare Baire came to an end sometime last year and the Ministry had now decided not to renew it.
The museum-exhibition was inaugurated on January 11, 2020 at the renovated Currency Building — which was built in 1833 and almost razed in 1996 — located in BBD Bagh, also known as Dalhousie Square. It was shut down temporarily a few times due to the pandemic.
“Consisting of multiple exhibitions, Ghare Baire traced the evolution of art in Bengal from the arrival of travelling European artists to the establishment of one of the earliest colonial art schools, the rise of indigenous practices, a revivalist movement borne of resistance to imperial impositions as well as the high tide of modernism. Viewed through a historical lens, the curation included the largest such collection of Bengal art on public display anywhere in the world,” the DAG statement said.
“Ghare Baire combined sensitive displays with extensive notes in English and Bengali on artists, art movements and individual artworks spanning the gamut of early European aquatints, Kalighat and Early Bengal paintings, prints, drawings, paintings in watercolour, oil and acrylic, photography as well as sculpture. Its galleries and courtyard were used for workshops and as performance spaces, creating a dynamic cultural space in the city. With Ghare Baire set to close in Kolkata on Sunday, we promise to return with newer perspectives and exhibitions — our way of thanking the city that deserves the epithet of ‘art capital’ of India,” the statement said.
Ghare Baire (at home and the world) derived its name from the title of Rabindranath Tagore’s iconic novel, which later inspired Satyajit Ray to make a film by the same name.