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Exhibition to look back on Calcutta' composite history

Exhibition to look back on Calcutta composite history

Kolkata: The Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) in collaboration with Jadavpur University and University of Liverpool is hosting a unique exhibition to depict Calcutta's composite history.

The exhibition titled "Calcutta Collages: Interactions with the city through collective initiatives" will be inaugurated on July 8 and will continue for at least a month.

"In the past four to five years, there have been a number of varied research projects based on Calcutta. Jadavpur University has been a common element in these researches in collaboration with a number of foreign universities and educational institutions. A handful of these projects have earlier been launched in VMH. The current thematic partnership between JU and University of Liverpool which has spawned Calcutta Collages, is called — Sustainable Heritage and Policy in Kolkata. It documents and showcases heritage activism in Kolkata through art and community interaction will be the main focus of the exhibition," said Jayanta Sengupta, curator and secretary of VMH.

Professor Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, who is also an eminent historian is expected to inaugurate the exhibition at Prince Hall.

According to the VMH curator the exhibition with 22 panel documents will have three broad segments— the city as a colonial construct represented through visual documentations of colonial spaces through photographs sourced from the British Library, London as well as contemporary research efforts to chart transformations, the city as a space of co existence and refuge as seen from the efforts of heritage restoration groups in panels pertaining to the Mess Baris, Jewish Calcutta and Scottish Cemetery and finally the city as the locus of progress and philanthropy epitomized by Mutty Lall Seal, an entrepreneur and philanthropist of nineteenth century Kolkata.

Elaborating on the 'Messbari Project' , Sengupta said that young scholars from city universities like Presidency and Jadavpur have documented this. Eminent author Shibram Chakraborty had spent his entire life in old buildings housing messes , poet Jibanananda Das also spent many years of his life in a mess house.

Calcutta which is now Kolkata has stories that can be told and relived in myriad ways. "The city's distinctive colonial heritage is glimpsed through its buildings. Its people and their paras have their own history. The exhibition - a collage of lived experiences and recollections is poised to be a visual treat for the city," Sengupta added.

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