Indian Life and Landscape
by Western artists

A V&A touring exhibition initially in partnership with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (CSMVS), then travelling to further venues in India between 2009 and 2010.

Partners

  • Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (CSMVS)
  • Mehrangarh Museum Trust , Jodhpur, Rajasthan
  • National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
  • Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata 
  • Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad
  • National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore

Aims

  • To share skills between the V&A and CSMVS and other venues in India
  • To promote and enable access to the V&A’s collections in India

Project details

CSMVS

Indian Life and Landscape by Western artists was born out of a long-standing relationship between the V&A and CSMVS. This project began as a research and publication collaboration between curators at both institutions, which was developed into an exhibition. Following this collaboration, the exhibition was shown on a groundbreaking multi-venue tour at venues throughout India, which promoted skills sharing and capacity building at all venues. WCP funding supported the practical costs of the tour (including logistics and environmental upgrading work), as well as making a significant contribution to the visitor offer through marketing and the public programme.

Preparations for the exhibition
V&A staff travelled to all the venues to help prepare the exhibition.

At CSMVS, talks and workshops were given on object framing, object handling, condition reporting and hanging and packing techniques.

At the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur and the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, staff worked together with the V&A to create new gallery spaces which met with UK Government loan requirements (previously neither museum had a temporary exhibition space). V&A staff attended both installation and deinstallation.

Developing a public programmme
A significant component of the project was the development of a strong public programme at all Indian venues.

At CSMVS, gallery talks and seminars were delivered by speakers from both CSMVS and the V&A. The Mumbai Symphony Orchestra held a concert to celebrate the partnership between the two organisations.

At the Fort, a varied public programme was developed with the British Council in Delhi. It included an artists’ residency, art workshops for local school groups and gallery guides in both English and Hindi.

At NGMA Delhi, the public programme included a teachers’ professional development workshop, using the content of the exhibition to emphasise the educational potential of museums.  In addition, a symposium entitled ‘Art Kaleidoscope: Life through the Visual Arts’ was held at the British Council building in Delhi.

The Victoria Memorial Hall organised a wide range of educational activities including a day long watercolour workshop for children, a panel discussion entitled ‘India Through Western Eyes’,  a history quiz and a day long souvenir design workshop.

Salar Jung, Hyderabad, developed an activity booklet which was available for children visiting the exhibition and held an ‘Art Appreciation’ panel discussionhighlighting the works on display.

NGMA Bangalore’s programme included artists’ trails, drawing workshops and a talk about the representation of landscape in Indian art.

Exhibition success
Indian Life and Landscape was visited by over 540,000 visitors throughout India, making it one of the V&A’s most successful touring exhibitions ever. Its success in India has greatly raised awareness of the V&A, WCP and UK collections.

Future work
V&A staff will share their knowledge and experiences with other WCP partners so that UK museums can continue to work and develop relationships with India, enabling future exhibition collaborations to take place.  

Indian life and landscape