London`s V&A Museum showcases Tagore, Kalighat paintings
New Delhi: The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is carrying the cultural pact signed between India and Britain in July 2010 to the next level, with a series of art initiatives involving Indian cultural heritage.
"The V&A Museum has a collection of 45,000 Indian art and objects of arts and it is natural that we should work on the collections together," Martin Roth, director of Victoria & Albert Museum, said here.
"We have also created a new India website to attract tourists and art lovers to the museum. India is a such a huge country and the tourism is growing," the director of the museum said.
The museum, which opened a showcase of 100 Kalighat paintings at the Victoria Museum in Kolkata Saturday, has two more exhibitions on its roster to promote Indian heritage.
An exhibition, "Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter", from Dec 19-March 4, 2012 will display 50 of his paintings, some of which have never been shown outside India, at Victoria & Albert Museum in London to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary.
"Most of the paintings have been sourced from Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan," Roth said here.
An exhibition, "India Design Now" in 2013, will present the innovations in contemporary Indian designs in UK, he said.
Roth said the museum was looking for more institutional and private partnerships in India under the agreement.
Addressing the media in the capital, Roth said: "The agreement envisages more cultural cooperation between the two countries with exhibitions, exchanges, discourses and people-to-people contact in spheres of art and culture to enhance soft diplomatic ties."
Art is a major component of the cultural exchange between the India and Britain, said Roth, who took over as director of the museum this year.
He said: "V&A Museum was partnering with a UK-based arts philanthropic organisation, Bonita Trust, for a series of India specific initiatives."
The initiatives include an exhibition of Kalighat paintings in Kolkata, digitisation of V&A Museum`s collection of Indian Company paintings, facilitating the museum`s knowhow programme to conserve Far Eastern collections in museums at Hyderabad and Gwalior; and a professional development programme for Indian textile conservators.
Two major galleries at the museum display highlights from the Indian and Southeast Asian collections, he said.
A gallery of early Indian art has a selection of sculpture dating from 200 BC to 1500 AD and another chronologically orders the spread of cultural influence from India to the Himalayan region and South East Asia.
The Nehru Gallery of Indian Art displays some of the most important objects in the collection produced in the period 1500 AD to 1900 AD.
The important exhibits at this gallery include wine cups commissioned and owned by the Mughal emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan; folios from imperial copies of the "Hamzanama (the `Romance of Hamza` - an Islamic epic)", "Akbarnama (the History of Akbar)"; "Tippoo`s Tiger", a mechanical contraption created for Tipu Sultan of Mysore, and the Golden Throne of Ranjit Singh.
The Robert HN Ho Family Gallery at the museum has a wide collection Asian Buddhist sculptures, Roth said.
Roth said: "The V&A Museum was also talking to the Indian government about living museum projects in the emerging cities of India to connect the youth to their cultural memories".
"The idea of museums has changed over the years to become more flexible," Roth said. Roth, a German, is the first non-British director of the museum.