MAP Museum of Art & Photography. Photo © Iwan Baan

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One of India’s outstanding collections of South Asian art will be revealed with the opening of MAP Museum of Art & Photography, housed in a state-of-the-art building in South India’s capital city, Bangalore, opening to the public for the first time on Saturday 18 February 2023. 

MAP has been developed to act as a beacon for South Asian arts and culture worldwide and is the brainchild of philanthropist and collector Abhishek Poddar, who also gifted the founding collection. The Museum is led by its Director, Kamini Sawhney. 

MAP’s collection of more than 60,000 works, ranges widely with a particular emphasis on the modern and contemporary, presenting paintings, sculptures and graphics, alongside textiles, indigenous art, and memorabilia of India’s world-famous Bollywood industry. It deliberately blurs the boundaries between what is regarded as high art and the everyday creativity of the region’s communities. The photography collection is one of the most varied in India with a particular focus on the period from the mid-nineteenth century, right up to the present day.

Speaking about MAP’s 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.”

MAP’s landmark 44,000 square foot building, located in the heart of Bangalore’s museum quarter is designed by Bangalore based architects, Mathew & Ghosh, and includes five galleries, a café and a rooftop restaurant with sweeping views across the city, a 130 seat auditorium, a library housing extensive research material on Indian art and culture, freely available to students and researchers, and a conservation centre for the protection, maintenance and upkeep 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.

Supported 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. 

MAP Museum of Art & Photography

Kasturba Road, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore, Karnataka 56001, India

City Today News – 9341997936

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