7000 Museums: A Project For The Republic Of India

By Atul Dodiya  |  Image Gallery

DEC 11, 2014 – FEB 10, 2015

Curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta
Industrial Arts Gallery | Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibitions Gallery | 19th Century Paintings Mumbai Gallery | Origins of Mumbai Gallery

The exhibition is a continuation of the Museum’s curatorial series, ‘Engaging Traditions’, which encourages contemporary artists to engage with the Museum’s history and collection. Through the series, artists are invited to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives, addressing issues that speak directly to the traditions and issues that underlie the founding of the Museum, yet evoke the present by challenging orthodoxies and questioning assumptions.

7000 Museums: A Project For The Republic Of India is comprised of a comprehensive body of artworks, with oil paintings, water colours and sculptural assemblages. The works evoke a layered dialogue with varied conceptual frameworks from the Museum’s collection, as they reference defining moments of history, art history as well as the semantics of museums and museum displays.

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Atul addresses the complexity of various simultaneous happenings in history - of politics, art and culture, through playful interventions in his works.  The water colour series humorously addresses ideas of local cultural representation through a construction of mock museums which represents both a lament and a hope.

The paintings in oil recreate historical photographs of events from the freedom struggle which recall the magnificent aspirations of the nation’s founding fathers. These are ruptured by a strong painterly gesture in colour against the black and white, taken from the Museum’s archive of pre restoration damaged paintings. The gesture sometimes acquires a flourish that recalls the decorative lines of the building as the artist fuses fact and fantasy into a striking allegory of our times.

In the vitrines Atul assembles an encyclopaedic vision of potentialities. Mythical figures take on a contemporary characterisation invoking the theatrical models and dioramas in the Museum. They nudge painterly references from Tagore, movies and great artists Atul admires, images from a personal history, or the popular kitsch that abounds in Mumbai’s markets. In an inspired binary juxtaposition Atul paints the poems of Arun Kolatkar on the reverse of the vitrines, inscribing a sharp edge into the playfulness, an act that reflects the city itself built as it is on loss and hope.


Public Tours

Free and open to all tours of the exhibition in English, Hindi and Marathi will be conducted by the Museum’s curatorial team every Saturday and Sunday from December 11, 2014 – February 10, 2015.
No prior registration required.


Group Tours and Workshops

Take an interpretive guided tour to explore artist Atul Dodiya’s watercolours, oil paintings and installations. Immerse yourself in Atul Dodiya’s imagined world of museums and objects, and conceptualise your own ‘Museum of Me’!
For all aged 6 and above.
Available on request from December 11, 2014 – February 10, 2015.
Contact education@bdlmuseum.org to book a session or for more information.