Britain’s Manchester Museum plans to inaugurate a 5 million pound permanent South Asia gallery in 2020 to showcase the history and culture of the “under-represented” region, its director Nick Merriman said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The 350 square metre gallery will come up at the museum (part of the University of Manchester) in collaboration with the British Museum, he said.
“By exploring the relationship between UK and South Asia, it will help in engaging with the city-region’s diverse communities, day visitors and tourists. People of South Asian descent comprise 11 per cent of the city’s population. But only four per cent of the museum’s visitors are South Asians. So we are trying to understand why they didn’t visit us... maybe they felt there was nothing relevant to them,” Merriman said.
Presence of a large south Asian population is mainly due to the strong historic links between the industrial heritage-rich city of Manchester and the Indian sub-continent through the textile trade, he said.
“However, their culture and history has been under-represented, and the South Asia gallery provides an opportunity to address this,” said Merriman.
The gallery will focus on the histories and cultures of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, from prehistory to modern day, with a specific focus on diaspora communities in Manchester.
Merriman was speaking about the forthcoming gallery at the Indian Museum here. He also discussed the idea of future partnerships with the Indian Museum, the oldest and the largest multipurpose museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region.