Showing posts with label knma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knma. Show all posts

3 Jun 2019

Interview: Kiran Nadar on #chalomuseum

#chalomuseum: An art awareness initiative by the KNMA

In an attempt to increase awareness about the museums in our country, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has come up with the #chalomuseum campaign. An ongoing initiative it reminds people about the wealth of art and heritage in the country. In an email interview, Smt Kiran Nadar – Founder and Chairperson of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Trustee Shiv Nadar Foundation, and Philanthropist shares insights into the museum going culture and the inroads that KNMA is making on the art and culture landscape.

NM: Why do you think Indians do not visit museums within the country and what can be done to address it?

Smt Kiran Nadar – Founder and Chairperson of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Trustee Shiv Nadar Foundation and Philanthropist
KN: I think there is a lack of awareness of art in India. Through KNMA efforts, we hope to bridge this gap and create a museum going culture in India and prove that art is not only for the elite. Building appreciation in art is a slow process but we hope to energise and invigorate the process using creative methods. I feel that the first step is reaching out to the youth, this is what we have taken on in a large manner. We invite schools to visit the museum, to participate in workshops and attend interesting sessions at our museums. We have such a great art heritage in India; it needs to be highlighted to the public. Additionally, our #chalomuseum campaign is an attempt to spread awareness and encourage the public to visit all the museums in our country, and remind people about the wealth of art and heritage in their own backyard.

KNMA, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has come up with the #chalomuseum campaign

NM: Over the years, what changes have you observed in audience behaviour and their engagement with art?

KN: I started my journey few decades ago as an art collector and have come a long way since then. With the launch of the museum almost a decade ago, we have managed to make great inroads into art education of the youth. I feel that there is an increased level of interest that springs from the young children of today. The adults are a little harder to convince but we hope that through their kids, they will also be able to enjoy and appreciate our vast and wonderful art heritage. My passion lies in raising awareness of the incredible art and culture surrounding us in our nation. I always wanted to create a museum culture in India and prove that art is not a choice of the elite few. Abroad, art is not just for the elite, it is enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

KNMA, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has come up with the #chalomuseum campaign

NM: What are the challenges that KNMA faces when it comes to curating art exhibitions and in creating audience engagement?

KN: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art as an institution-builder looks holistically at the ecology of arts in India and the support systems that are needed for contemporary art. Having said that, whatever one might say, exhibitions do tend to happen under different kinds of pressure and productive friction. KNMA did initiate several processes pertaining to curation and bringing the artworks to the readiness required.

In India, Delhi specifically doesn’t have a very interested art scenario unlike Mumbai or Kolkata. Delhi has a large floating population and it takes time for an interest in art to evolve. In India we don’t look at art seriously or as an investment category too. We have realized that art education is the way to engage audiences, therefore we host a number of educational initiatives by collaborating with schools, colleges, NGOS, trusts etc. Screening of films, stimulating curatorial programs, and curated walks form an integral part of the museum’s itinerary, all with the focus of audience engagement. We have recently also tried some out of the box engagement ideas like flash mobs replicating a historical painting, and Heritage Art Project where we set up one day workshops at heritage sites such as Qutab Minar and others across India

Mrs Kiran Nadar at India Pavilion, Venice Biennale

NM: What do you feel about the role of private-public partnerships with respect to art museums and its efficacy in the Indian context?

KN: With the comeback of India Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, we have taken a great step forward in terms of private-public partnerships in the sphere of Art. After 8 long years, India once again marked its presence at the art world's oldest Biennale in Venice. As principal partners, KNMA curated the India Pavilion. However, this would not have been possible without the support of the Ministry of Culture, NGMA and CII. We all have come together to make this comeback a huge hit at the Venice Biennale. This in itself is a huge step towards putting India on the International art map, which in turn we hope will help increase awareness and appreciation of art in India itself. Our participation has not come a minute too late and will hopefully continue hereafter. It will bring greater visibility to the artistic talent in India and the comprehension of its diverse, multivalent practice.

Watch the video on #chalomuseum here 

All images and video courtesy KNMA

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5 Dec 2018

Art News: Jangarh Singh Shyam - A Conjuror’s Archive (New Delhi)

Jangarh Singh Shyam

A Conjuror’s Archive

‘Jangarh Singh Shyam, A Conjuror’s Archive’, co-curated by Dr. Jyotindra Jain and Roobina Karode is on at The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) at KNMA, Saket, New Delhi.

Jangarh Singh Shyam
ca. late 1980s
Pigment on paper
Collection and image courtesy: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore

The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a book launch, ‘Jangarh Singh Shyam, A Conjuror’s Archive,’ authored by Dr. Jyotindra Jain, who has had an extensive engagement with the works of Jangarh, having known him personally and following his practice.

KNMA has expanded its curatorial and exhibition program in the last few years. Since 2017 a special exhibition category has been introduced, to open up discourses around preceding pre-modern, traditional and indigenous art practices, and critically examine their influence and appropriations in urban contemporary art. The first of this kind was ‘Amruta Kalasha, Thanjavur and Other South Indian Paintings’. This year the exhibition on Jangarh problematizes ‘the tribal’ and ‘the contemporary’. Jangarh was born into a Pardhan Gond family in the village of Patangarh in Mandla district, of Eastern Madhya Pradesh. He is much discussed for his creation of a new style, which is named after him as ‘Jangarh Kalam’. A unique style when compared with traditional tribal art practices. Its initiation happened early when Jangarh met J. Swaminathan (who was then Director at Bharat Bhavan) during a talent scout. Swaminathan convinced Jangarh to relocate to Bhopal and work as a professional artist. Jangarh’s primary subjects were sometimes Gond deities like Thakur Dev, Bada Deo and Kalsahin Devi and at other times were applique styled portraits of animals, trees, folklore imagery and landscapes of the place where he grew up, placed next to objects and entities from urban settings, like aeroplanes.

The exposition is enriched with works brought in on loan from government and private institution collections and many private collectors. The exhibits include paintings on paper and canvas, terracotta murals, digital prints of photographs, Jangarh’s letters, and reproduction of mural images and theatre posters which incorporated Jangarh’s art work.

A substantial showing in this exhibition of Jangarh’s works has come from The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore. Works from institutions such as Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal and The Crafts Museum in New Delhi are historically important as they were places where Jangarh worked on-site projects. Some in-situ murals will be reproduced for the exhibition. The book by Dr. Jain (who is a cultural historian and museologist), offers rare insight into the life and works of Jangarh Singh Shyam.

“This exposition is a witness to Jangarh’s excitement and angst, his hope and despair, which pulled him into a vortex of uncertainty and alienation from his familiar ground. His rise to fame, through the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, at Centre Pompidou, Paris in 1989 followed by subsequent multiple commissions from different art entities, with his journey ending tragically, when Jangarh committed
suicide in Japan at the age of 39. At a cursory glance while one may think he created the universe he knew, which was being amidst the flora and fauna in natural surroundings that were associated with his imagery, there are embedded stories, fables, anecdotes and myths that are unveiled beautifully by Dr. Jain”, mentions Roobina Karode, Chief Curator and Director, KNMA.

The ethos of the exposition at certain points resonate and harmonize with the spirit of the book on Jangarh and at other times take a self-determining course to generate unique visual experiences.

“Jangarh Singh, a young Pardhan artist with an inborn genius for drawing and painting and modelling … was “discovered” when the walls of his hut were found to be covered with paintings done by him”, J. Swaminathan once stated, to what Dr. Jain points out, “The term ‘discovery’ as applied to encountering works by indigenous or vernacular artists by ethnographers, art historians and what Jangarh would call sheheri (urban) artists further stresses the hierarchised binary between the two and, concomitantly, the power relation inherent to the dynamic between the invasive ‘discoverer’ and the passive ‘discovered’, more explicitly visible in the histories of colonial voyages and geographical discoveries”.

One of his works from the late 1980s depict a serpent supporting the animate earth on its head where the stylized form is shaped out of numerous dots. Jangarh introduced this entirely new style which generated a narrative instead of portraying a singular deity. Adding layers of chronicles to his subject, Jangarh often drew from the social and cultural changes that he observed around.

His earliest commission work from 1996, is a massive exterior mural covering 6500 square feet in Vidhan Bhavan, Bhopal, in which he was assisted technically by Ashis Swamy, a theatre associate and a trained artist from Santiniketan. This mural was the first of its kind done by Jangarh. He populated the pictorial ground with his gods, the vegetation and creatures embedded in his memory to which he added a colossal aeroplane and a leaping tiger. The vast and charming painterly space of the murals both predicted and determined the large scale of the images and propelled him to add more.

Jangarh Singh Shyam
Image courtesy: Jyotindra Jain

Another work depicting a young boy playing flute, done in acrylic on canvas from the mid-90s, is a rare painting. It talks of a young boy seated amongst animals under a tree playing his flute. The tree hosts birds, a beehive and a large cobra, which too appears mesmerised with the tune of the flute. The painting is unconventionally divided in diagonal spaces with in which the central protagonist, according to Jyotindra Jain could also be a possible representation of the artist himself.

Jangarh Singh Shyam
ca. mid 1990s
Acrylic on canvas
Collection and image courtesy: Mark Tully and Gillian Wright, New Delhi

Raised with powerful sensibilities that were shaped by his memories from Patangarh, a place which he left behind, Jangarh created, a huge body of artworks in over two decades. His works are inhabited by gods and demons, shamans and priests, birds and beasts and sometimes creatures that dwell in imaginations. Thus the entire realm of memories that had remained dormant in his mind came alive through his imageries, as response to the new and alluring space of the paper, canvas or the walls that ‘he turned into a vast and unique conjuror’s archive’, says Dr Jain.

Exhibition continues till 12th January 2019

Based on press release

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