India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ – Museum of Art and Photography

Global access for the first time to full range of south Asia's visual culture

MAP Museum of Art and Photography, housed in a state-of-the-art building in South India’s capital city, Bangalore, known as India’s Silicon Valley, will open to the public on 11 December 2022.

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 public 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 Museum of Art & Photography 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’s collection of more than 60,000 works ranges widely across all periods and presents paintings, sculptures and graphics, alongside textiles, tribal art and memorabilia of India’s world-famous Bollywood industry. It deliberately blurs the boundaries between what is regarded as high art and the everyday creativity of the region’s communities. The photography collection is one of the most extensive in India with a particular focus on the period from the mid-nineteenth century, a turning point in the history of Britain’s colonial relationship with the region, right up to the present day.

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Supported by Bangalore’s advanced technologies, the new museum is built on the foundations of a pioneering digital format, which was launched in 2020. This includes virtual exhibition tours, artists talks, virtual reality experiences, and a series of keynote conversations with international museum directors highlighting the collections. Alongside this, MAP Academy is the first online resource making available South Asian art histories, and offering online courses and access to its rapidly developing encyclopaedia of works from the region.

MAP’s landmark 44,000 square foot building, located in the heart of Bangalore’s museum quarter is designed by Bangalore based architects, Mathew & Ghosh, and includes four large galleries, a café and a rooftop restaurant, a 130 seat auditorium, a library housing extensive research material on Indian art and culture, freely available to students and researchers, and a conservation laboratory to carry out research and care of the collection.

Kamini Sawhney, Director of MAP, said: “From the very beginning we wanted MAP Museum of Art & Photography 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 are 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:

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• Visible/Invisible will explore the representation of women in art history from the Indian subcontinent. Highlights from this expansive survey, featuring over 130 works, include a tenth century sculpture of the Goddess Brahmani, a poster of the film Hunterwwali Ki Beti (1943), K.G. Subramanyan’s painting Woman in the Blue Room, (1981), Mrinalini Mukherjee’s Hemp sculpture Naag (1986), and Rampyari from Gauri Gill’s photographic series Balika Mela (2003-2010).

• Time and Time Again will be the first major retrospective of the photography of celebrated 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.

• MAP will present the first solo show of the artist L N Tallur, who was born in the State of Karnataka, where MAP is located, and who now lives and works between India and South Korea.

• Rishis, a major installation by internationally acclaimed sculptor and Royal Academician, Stephen Cox, will be displayed in the Sculpture Courtyard at MAP.

• 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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