Mr. Bhavdatt Patel
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Himalayan Art Gallery Press Note
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India), Mumbai is reopening its Himalayan Art Section after a year’s gap during which extensive restoration of the collection and the gallery was undertaken. The Museum has one of the finest collections of art from the Himalayan region which is a sign of the constant flow and exchange of tangible and intangible heritage that has been an integral part of the region’s history for centuries.
The earlier Himalayan Art Gallery at the Museum on the 1st floor of its heritage building was closed a year ago for reorganization, the idea being to re-invent it in keeping with the evolving needs of society and to incorporate new research that has come to light in the last decade. The major part of the collection is gift of Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection, Sir D. J. Tata Collection and Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala. Over the years it was further enriched by several individual donors.
In a world constantly trying to present a homogeneous global face it becomes important to maintain and respect the individual threads that weave this harmony. Each pearl in the string has its own story, both as an individual and as a partner. One of the masterpieces of the museum that will be displayed is a historically significant and aesthetically outstanding 13th century CE gilt bronze Maitreya sculpture from Nepal and the pièce de résistance of the gallery will be a contemporary clay sculpture of the same Future Buddha.
One of the efforts at the CSMVS has been the preservation of traditions and practices of dying arts and crafts, and through its program Art Conservation Resurgence Project (ACRP) supported by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Museum had invited clay-sculptor, Shri Chhemet Rigzin and his team from Ladakh to make a 6 foot tall clay sculpture of seated Maitreya Buddha on the Museum premises in 2014-15. The entire process of the making of Maitreya Buddha was video documented and snippets of the process will be screened in the gallery. The Museum will also showcase its prized 16th century CE gilt bronze sculpture of King Sontsen Gampo from Tibet that bears a considerable resemblance to his life-size clay figure installed at Potala palace at Lhasa. A painting of the Potala Palace made by famous Museologist Dr. V. Bedekar in 1964 will also be on display. Along with these will be exhibited religious paintings on cloth and metalwork representing Buddhist and Hindu deities from Nepal and Tibet. To support the exhibits that come down to museums often out of their context, this gallery provides visual aids narrating the story of an object. The curatorial team had undertaken extensive research tours to document the intangible aspects associated with these objects. They interviewed the Lamas who enunciate the meanings of these tangible material cultures. To get a glimpse of their day to day life and to understand how the past make sense in the present and together shape the future. The team has documented the material process of making the ritual objects, Thangka paintings and other metalware which will be screened in the gallery. This project was generously funded under the CITI BANK, CONSERVARTE – Citi-CSMVS Conservation Project in partnership with Citibank. This dream has been realized by the grant from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India under the Metro Museum Modernization Plan. The Museum is now geared up to open the doors to this classic collection of art from the Himalayan region to the public on 8th May 2016. The gallery will be formally inaugurated on 7th May 2016 by Ven. Geshe Lhakdor, Director, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
Mr. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS says:
Project Heads Mrs. Manisha Nene, Assistant Director and Mrs Vandana Prapanna, Senior Curator say:
Notes to the Editor
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) is one the premier art and history museums in India situated in the Crescent Site on the southern tip of Mumbai. The Museum building is designed in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style and is listed a Grade I Heritage Building. The Museum houses a world class collection of over 50,000 artifacts which comprises of various forms of art from India and beyond i.e. Far-East, Nepal, Tibet and Europe. It has an important archaeological collection and a natural history section, which are major attractions for children. This spectacular collection comprises of purchases and generous donations from dignitaries like Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorabji Tata. Several artifacts have been acquired from Seth Purshottam Mavji, Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala and the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Museum has won an award for Heritage Building Maintenance by the Indian Heritage Society. It has also been awarded the ‘2010 UNESCO Asia – Pacific Heritage Award’ for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
The Museum is open on all days, 10.15am to 6.00pm, except National Holidays (January 26, May1, August 15 and October 2)
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