An extensive exhibitions programme includes a strong focus on contemporary art. A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives. These exhibitions are presented in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibitions Gallery (KBG) in the main Museum building and may involve interventions into the vitrines holding the permanent collections. The Museum also hosts exhibitions in collaboration with galleries and other institutions in the Special Project Space (SPS) in the Museum Plaza. The Museum has successfully partnered with international museums and institutions to showcase contemporary artists and exhibitions which relate to the Museum’s permanent collection.
A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives, addressing issues that speak directly to the traditions and issues that underlie the founding of the Museum, yet evoke the present by challenging orthodoxies and questioning assumptions. Several distinguished contemporary artists including Jitish Kallat, Sudarshan Shetty, L.N. Tallur and Ranjini Shettar have participated in this programme.
Through collaborations with international institutes, the Museum has hosted several exhibitions. Contemporary Photography and the Olympic Posters were presented from the V & A Museum, London. German artist Eberhard Havekost's works were presented in collaboration with the Dresden State Art Collections and the exhibition Social Fabric was showcased with INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts) London, and the Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. The Museum collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum, New York, to present the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai,and the Ermenegildo Zegna group on the project ZegnArt Public in 2013. Most recently, the Museum hosted an acclaimed masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s (Italian, 1378-1455) The Gates of Paradise (1425-52), through a special collaboration with the Guild of the Dome Association, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. Folk Archive, a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture was held in collaboration with the British Council.
Indian costume is a wide and varied field, one that incorporates richly brocaded silks to sumptuous velvets and finely woven cotton. Each article of clothing demonstrates the range of materials and weaving techniques prevalent in the country, including embellishments in the form of intricate embroidery, beads or semi-precious stones.
In this exhibition, textile artist Geeta Khandelwal has meticulously recreated miniature garments of ceremonial and everyday attire of the maharajas of India, drawing on fabric and styles over a span of a hundred years, from 1850 to 1950. Geeta has based her recreations on references drawn from the Calico Museum’s publication ‘Indian Costumes in the Collection of the Calico Museum of Textiles’ by B N Goswamy and Kalyan Krishna (1993). The book includes detailed patterns by Tarla P Dundh, which give measurements and show individual sections of the garments. Types of fabrics used, colours, details of embroidery, buttons and ties are also illustrated in the publication. Following patterns available in the book, Geeta has recreated male attire consisting of long robes known as jamas, angarkhas, choghas or sherwanis. Each miniature garment has been hand-stitched, in collaboration with master tailors and embroiderers. She has used largely vintage fabric from her personal collection, which reflect the great diversity of Indian materials in use since the early 19 th century. These range from fine silks and brocades of Varanasi, hand-block prints of Gujarat and Rajasthan, fine muslin of Bengal, pashmina jamavar of Kashmir, and chikankari embroideries of Lucknow amongst others.
Geeta Khandelwal is a textile artist from Mumbai who has been working in the field for over fifty years. She is a passionate quilt maker and has served on the board of the International Quilt Study Center from 2003 to 2008. She has also participated in many quilt exhibitions around the world, including the Houston Quilt Festival (1985) and the Patchwork Quilt Festival of Alsace, France (2014). Geeta is the author of “Godharis of Maharashashtra, Western India” (2014).
Initiated five years ago by the Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation, Kalanand is an online contest that has been consistently encouraging emerging artists from across India, providing a wide accessibility to people from cities as well remote areas. The selection of the artworks has been done by a jury consisting of well-known art historians, critics and artists through a careful and considered process. Online entries are reviewed by a panel of six eminent jurists in two phases. The jurists do not see the artists’ name and score the entries based on an objective rubric. The 2019 Kalanand contest received over a thousand entries, from which nine national awardees have been selected and invited to exhibit their award-winning works.
This year, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum has collaborated with Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation to exhibit the works of winners of the contest in an effort to provide a platform to nurture and encourage upcoming artists. The exhibition presents the nine winning entries, the three highest ranking from each category - Painting, Drawing and New Media.
Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to create a network for the Artist community in India, recognise and publicise the work of talented emerging artists. The Foundation's Kalanand Contest has the largest reach and support to emerging artists across India.
by Lim Tze Peng