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Culture and tourism integrated

Culture and tourism  integrated
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Showcasing a range of artefacts and curios across mediums and over the past two millennia, National Museum (NM) turned a new chapter on Friday, by hosting an exhibition of a private donor for the first time in its 65-year history.

Close to 100 select sculptures, besides textiles, paintings, manuscripts, coins and textiles which octogenarian C L Bharany had lent to the museum in 1976 are now on display for more than a month at a specially designed gallery, as Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Shripad Naik inaugurated A Passionate Eye being co-curated by three experts.
‘The time has come to integrate culture with tourism. The country will hugely benefit from such a synergy,’ the minister said before formally opening the 34-day show, featuring 99 objects on 6,000-sq-ft carpeted space.

He noted that A Passionate Eye, also titled Paarkhi Nazar in Hindi, highlighted the role of private collectors in lending focus to cultural heritage. ‘Museums help us engage with our past; they are a fascinating experience,’ he added.

Chotte Lal Bharany, now 87, is among the most significant collectors of Indian art - a passion the icon took cue from his late father RK Bharany in the 20th century. Delhi-based Bharany, with roots in Amritsar where they were carpet manufacturers, went on to gain name with his striking range and quality of the works he assembled. Bharany described museums as ‘cultural temples’ of the country, and said traditional Indian art banked its aesthetics on mythology. ‘Art is a more of a feeling than anything,’ he noted. ‘Aspects like antiquity, historicity and ethnicity come only later.’

NM Director-General Venu V said A Passionate Eye has enabled NM now to venture into a new territory. ‘We are planning similar exhibitions that will allow visitors to show more than what is on permanent display. This is the first special exhibition NM is holding to explore this subject,’ he added.
The exhibition, which British art historian Giles Tillotson has co-curated with Pramod Kumar KG and Mrinalini Venkateswaran of Eka Archiving Services, is designed by Siddhartha Chatterjee of Seechange. Some items have been lent by the Bharany family specifically for A Passionate Eye.
 Ravindra Singh, Secretary, Culture, stressed the need for collaboration between public museums. ‘It is a good trend that museums are no fossilised places; instead one brims with people,’ he said.
Through its design, the exhibition that is slated to conclude on 14 August seeks to reflect this variety. Objects are grouped sometimes by material such as textile and sometimes by subject matter or themes such as asceticism - irrespective of provenance and date - to highlight the varied and layered links that inspire collecting.
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