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1833 building that escaped demolition is now a goldmine of art

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Exhibition acknowledges cosmopolitan nature of Kolkata as one travels by greater than two centuries.

As you stroll by over 200 years of art in Bengal on this exhibition, the works on show appear much more treasured contemplating the historic building that homes them virtually turned rubble — earlier than well timed intervention saved it.

Popularly referred to as the Old Currency Building — sitting in BBD Bagh or Dalhousie Square, within the coronary heart of Kolkata — it was inbuilt 1833 to deal with the Agra Bank throughout the time of William Bentinck. In 1868, a decade after India formally got here underneath British rule, the good-looking construction was transformed into the all-important workplace the place forex was issued and exchanged.

It remained in use till 1994, when it was determined that the construction had grow to be too outdated and ought to be pulled down. That was a time when there was scant regard for heritage in India, and in 1996 the Central Public Works Department initiated its demolition. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation and the INTACH intervened, following which the Archaeological Survey of India was entrusted with its dialog — although, by then, its domes have been gone.

Popularly known as the Old Currency Building — sitting in BBD Bagh or Dalhousie Square, in the heart of Kolkata — it was built in 1833 to house the Agra Bank during the time of William Bentinck.

Popularly referred to as the Old Currency Building — sitting in BBD Bagh or Dalhousie Square, within the coronary heart of Kolkata — it was inbuilt 1833 to deal with the Agra Bank throughout the time of William Bentinck.
 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Almost a quarter of a century later, in January 2020, the renovated Old Currency building was devoted to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and its reopening was marked with Ghare Baire, the exhibition showcasing art in Bengal from the eighteenth to the 20 th century. Being organised by the Ministry of Culture by DAG Museums, a personal entity with wealthy expertise in curating art, the present has reopened to the general public once more after a lengthy interruption as a result of pandemic.

Considering that it showcases greater than 200 years of art, it will possibly take as many hours for a severe connoisseur or pupil to review each single exhibit, however for the layperson, even for these with little interest in art, a whole morning or afternoon on the gallery ought to be edifying sufficient. Entry is free.

“We have taken care to make art as accessible as possible — that’s the USP of this show. The accompanying captions explain every work in a manner that’s easy to understand,” Sumona Chakravarty, deputy director of DAG Museums, informed The Hindu. According to her, the title, Ghare Baire, was chosen as a tribute to the long-lasting novel by Rabindranath Tagore and the movie (of the identical title) by Satyajit Ray, as a approach to mark a continuity of nice art and tradition within the area.

“The exhibition acknowledges the cosmopolitan nature of the city, which is reflected in the exhibition as we travel through more than two centuries, and see how global exchanges and local traditions shaped art in the region,” Ms. Chakravarty stated.

While artists can set up their studio in the museum, the venue also holds programmes like museum trails and gift-a-tour.

While artists can arrange their studio within the museum, the venue additionally holds programmes like museum trails and gift-a-tour.
 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bilingual timelines on the partitions give a detailed chronology of improvement of art in Bengal, and works of virtually each artist related to Bengal are on show. Then there are quite a few work, the place one want to linger on to review particulars, however the names of whose creators have been misplaced to time. One such oil-on-canvas by an nameless artist exhibits Shiva sprawled on the bottom and Parvati clapping at his predicament: angered by his inebriation, she had despatched her lion to chase his bull, inflicting him to fall. The caption explains fairly artfully: “Challenging preconceived notions of divinity, the artwork humanises the deities and shows their susceptibility to mortal emotions.”

An complete part, for sure, is dedicated to Satyajit Ray, who made the expression “Ghare, Bhaire” (At Home and the World) well-known throughout Bengal; dozens of photos clicked on the set by his favorite photographer Nemai Ghosh are on show.

“During the lockdown [enforced barely two months after its opening] and the period that followed, we were continuing all our programmes online, but now we are reopening the museum slowly and safely as a space for the city’s creative community. Artists can set up their studio within the museum, there will be book readings; we have also started programmes like museum trails and gift-a-tour. The idea is to promote art and inspire new thinking,” Ms. Chakravarty stated.

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