Spectral Times by Sarnath Banerjee

Curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta

Feb 23, 2019 - May 26, 2019


Industrial Arts Gallery | 19th Century Gallery | Origins of Mumbai Gallery | Kamalnayan Bajaj Gallery

Sarnath Banerjee, the acclaimed graphic novelist, responds to Mumbai and the Museum’s historic collection with a trove of stories that allude to or are directly inspired by the Museum. Narrated in the form of a magazine interview with the intrepid reporter, Birjis Bari who works with The Spectral Times, the uncanny stories reveal the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Sarnath works form both a visual and literary urban archive and respond to the Museum as archive and a repository of memories. Like most forms of story telling the Museum is a place of enchantment, where the unreal becomes real. In deploying both sound and visuals, Sarnath creates different registers of reference and meaning. He encourages you to stop and listen, to question appearances. In creating urban legends that are at a slight tangent to reality he encourages us to reflect upon our lives and those of others with tongue firmly in his cheek.

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Sarnath Banerjee had written four books of graphic fiction. ‘Corridor’, ‘The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers’, ‘The Harappa Files’ and ‘All Quiet in Vikaspuri’ and recently ‘Doabdil’.

As part of his ongoing project involving collaboration with historians, Banerjee had produced ‘Liquid History of Vasco Da Gama’ for the Kochi Biennial, 2014, and ‘The Poona Circle’, a series of vandalised history textbooks, for the Pune Biennale, 2017. The same year, for Frans-Hals Museum, Harlem, he produced ‘I Got Ginger’, 2017; a series of drawings and text that proposes the making an ‘insubordinate’ childrens’ book on Dutch colonialism. His billboard series, ‘Gallery of Losers’, commissioned by Frieze Projects East, for the 2012 London Olympics, was widely displayed in East London. In 2016, he was commissioned over 80 murals by Deutsche Bank, for their new office in Canary Wharf.

In 2008, Banerjee co-founded the award-winning publishing house Phantomville that brought together reporters and comic-book artists to produce works of visual journalism.

Sarnath Banerjee had studied at Goldsmith College, London and currently lives in Berlin.


Free Workshop | Create Your Museum Mystery Story

MAR 02, 2019,       11 am - 2 pm

In our current exhibition 'Spectral Times', artist and graphic novelist, Sarnath Banerjee responds to the Museum’s historic collection with a trove of stories which reveal the secret and surreal lives of ordinary people and where the unreal becomes real. Follow our main character, Birjis Bari, a reporter for a local quarterly magazine, as he records otherworldly encounters with seven characters.

Join us for a tour of the exhibition and listen into some of the stories. The tour will be followed by a workshop where you can write and illustrate your own mysteries around your favourite Museum object!


Free Tour | Hidden Histories of the Museum

MAR 09, 2019,       4 pm - 5 pm

Our current exhibition, 'Spectral Times' by Sarnath Banerjee follows the character, reporter, Birjis Bari as he interviews a number of people from the city who have had otherworldly encounters, which reveal an invisible side to the city.

This special tour looks at lesser-known objects of the Museum and the hidden stories around them. Join us to uncover the secrets of the Museum and the city itself!


Free Workshop| Create your own Zine inspired by 'Spectral Times'

MAR 17, 2019,       11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Birjis Bari, the fictional character in the exhibition ‘Spectral Times’ by Sarnath Banerjee, is a reporter for a mysterious magazine The Spectral Times that reports the underlying forces that influence contemporary news. He interviews seven people who have had a brush with the otherworldly, in which the unreal becomes real!

Join us this Sunday and create your own zine of fictional encounters around the Museum!

Short for 'magazine', a zine is generally a publication by an individual or a small group, produced on budget. Learn different methods of making a zine and take home your very own!


Parent - Toddler Book Club At The Museum!

MAR 17, 2019,       11:30 am - 1:30 pm

In collaboration with Trilogy by The Eternal Library

Making Mumbai


How did our city come to be? Piece together the story bit by bit and take a walk through the Museum's latest exhibition 'Spectral Times' to understand how stories are told through pictures.

Ahalya Naidu is the co-founder of a library and bookstore in Mumbai called Trilogy. She has worked as a journalist and manuscript editor, and has taught creative writing to children.


Summer Fun: Tales at the Museum!

MAY 4 & 5, 2019,       10:30 am - 6:00 pm

A two day story-telling festival inspired by Sarnath Banerjee's exhibition 'Spectral Times'! Listen to unknown stories and discover new ways of telling them!

Alternative Storytelling | Under the Story Tree

May 4, 2019,       11 am - 12:30 pm

In collaboration with Talking Turtles Storytellers

Storyteller Shreedevi Sunil is set to weave stories with you! Join in as she explores different forms of storytelling, from the Japanese form of Kamishibai to Storytelling using Objects!

Alternative Storytelling | Story of Osmosis

May 4, 2019,       5.00 pm - 6.00 pm

In collaboration with the Academy of STEAM

Have you ever thought of learning science through stories? Dr. Jayaraman and the Academy of STEAM will read out a sci-story on osmosis to take back to the classroom!

Alternative Storytelling | Patachitra workshop + performance

May 5, 2019,       11.00 am - 2 pm

In collaboration with Ekibeki

Pattachitra style of painting, one of the oldest and most popular art forms of West Bengal and Odisha, Pattachitra is a painting done on canvas, manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs.

Tour | Hidden Histories of the Museum

May 4 & 5, 2019,       10.30 am - 11.30 am

This special tour looks deep into around lesser-known objects of the Museum and the hidden stories around them. Join us to uncover the secrets of the Museum and the city itself!

Tour | Storytelling in Art

May 4 & 5, 2019,       3.30 pm - 5.00 pm

There are many ways of telling stories-with words, pictures or even music! Join this tour and discover unusual modes of narrating stories seen in our permanent collection.

Alternative Storytelling | 'Language beyond Words'

with Dr. Anagha Bhat - an artist & archaeologist

May 5, 2019,       4 pm - 6 pm

What stories can you read from prehistoric cave paintings? Dr. Anagha Bhat will show various images of cave art from all over the globe. Participants will be given an idea for a story and create their own cave art illustrating this story!

Visual Storytelling | Virtual Stories of Mumbai

with Dr. Anagha Bhat - an artist & archaeologist

May 4 & 5, 2019,       11:00 am – 5:00 pm

In collaboration with Bambaiyya VR

Close your eyes and think of the city of Mumbai. What do you imagine? The Museum, in collaboration with Bambaiyya VR, offers our visitors a chance to sit through a virtual reality experience that takes you on a taxi ride through the streets of Mumbai! Visit important landmarks and talk to people from three important communities that helped shape the city!


Free Workshop | Journalist as Storytellers

MAY 19, 2019,       11:00 am - 1:00 pm

With Benita Fernando

The current exhibition at the Museum revolves around Birjis Bari, a reporter for a mysterious fictional magazine, 'The Spectral Times', that comes out of Thane. Birjis' first assignment involves interviewing people who have had extraordinary events happen in ordinary circumstances. In this workshop, journalist Benita Fernando will explain what it takes to be a news reporter- how to find hyperlocal stories, interview people and collect facts. Join us for a tour of the exhibition and learn how to see the world as a journalist!


Free Workshop | Journalist as Storytellers

MAY 25, 2019,       3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Workshop: Create Your Own Zine!

Inspired by the exhibition 'Spectral Times'

In collaboration with Bombay Underground

Birjis Bari, the fictional reporter in our exhibition ‘Spectral Times’, encounters seven people who have had a brush with the otherworldly, in which the unreal becomes real! Join Bombay Underground at the Museum and create your own zine of fictional encounters around the Museum!