Museum of Art and Photography

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The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), housed in a state-of-the-art building in South India’s capital city, Bengaluru, will open to the public on 18 February 2023.

MAP has been developed to act as a beacon for South Asian arts and culture worldwide. Benefitting from extensive digital as well as physical content, it will be the first new private museum to open in India in a decade. MAP is the brainchild of philanthropist and collector Abhishek Poddar, who also gifted the founding collection, and is led by its Director, Kamini Sawhney.

Speaking about MAP’s purpose, Museum Founder Abhishek Poddar said: “I believe we need MAP now because South Asian cultures represent the cultures of nearly a quarter of the world’s population and yet their stories have not been told. I hope that through the building, the collections, and our online content, we can open up a dialogue with the world in this time when new narratives are being shaped.”

MAP is the custodian of a growing collection of over 60,000 artworks that take viewers on a comprehensive journey of Indian art and culture. Predominantly from the Indian subcontinent and dating from the 10th century to the present, the collection includes paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs, and more.

MAP will open its doors to the public in February 2023, in its landmark 44,000 square foot building, located in the heart of Bangalore’s museum quarter and is designed by Bangalore-based architects, Mathew & Ghosh. Divided into five stories, the museum will include art galleries, an auditorium, a library, a multimedia gallery, a technology center, a sculpture courtyard, a learning center, specialized research, and conservation facility, a gift store, a café, a member's lounge, and a terrace fine-dining restaurant.

Kamini Sawhney, Director of MAP, said: “From the very beginning we wanted MAP to be accessible to everyone. And to speak especially to a young generation whose visual experiences are so greatly influenced by the digital world. More than half of our population is under 25 years old; no country has more young people. We are fortunate to have been able to start from scratch thinking in an integrated way about how to approach audiences, whether they are in schools in Bangalore or in communities across the world. Audiences we couldn’t have dreamt of reaching through the building alone.”

MAP’s inaugural exhibitions and displays will provide a glimpse of the stories the collection tells:

VISIBLE/INVISIBLE
Representation of Women in Art through the MAP Collection. On view for three years, the exhibition presents the range of the collection across mediums from painting, sculpture, photography and textiles, to jewellery. VISIBLE/INVISIBLE uses four key narratives — Goddess and Mortal, Sexuality and Desire, Power and Violence and Struggle and Resistance. VISIBLE/INVISIBLE is accompanied by a publication that presents more than a hundred and thirty artworks across two hundred and forty pages. This exhibition is made possible with support from the Ford Foundation, Sonata Software and MAP's Accessibility Partner, Mphasis F1 Foundation.

Time & Time Again will be the first major retrospective of the photography of Indian artist, Jyoti Bhatt, drawn from one of MAP’s most important photographic archives, containing 1,000 prints and 60,000 negatives from Bhatt’s photographic body of work. Better known as a modernist printmaker and painter, the exhibition examines Bhatt’s journey into photography and celebrates the breadth of his practice. Time & Time Again is accompanied by a publication, and both the book and exhibition will further cement Bhatt’s position as a pillar of post-Independence modern Indian art, providing scholarly and institutional support to a distinguished and much loved artist.

Chirag-e-Al will be 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. Tallur draws from traditional sculptures and lamps in MAP's collection, to create intersections between artificial intelligence (AI) and ritualistic belief systems, challenging audiences to question humanity's growing reliance on technological systems. Mythical characters melt and morph, as he speculates on how AI can transform them. He re-examines and re-imagines historical objects and sculptural practices, and these interventions spark a dialogue between history, modernity, industrialization, and capitalism. The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet in Kannada and English that comprises richly illustrated images of the works, an essay authored by Pramod Kumar KG, and an interview between the artist and Professor Tarikere.

Dialogues in Stone
An exhibition by internationally acclaimed sculptor and Royal Academician, Stephen Cox, will be displayed in the Sculpture Courtyard at MAP. These sculptures, carved in basalt, greet audiences as they enter the museum. Drawing from Cox’s observations of architectural sites and monuments in the region, they embody mythical beings through minimalist forms. The titles of these sculptures refer to powerful goddesses and sages. This exhibition is supported by the Rothschild Foundation.

Sculptural commissions by renowned artists Arik Levy, together with two of India’s leading contemporary artists, Ayesha Singh and Tarik Currimbhoy, will be on display in key locations throughout the museum.
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