An extensive exhibitions programme includes a strong focus on contemporary art. A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives. These exhibitions are presented in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibitions Gallery (KBG) in the main Museum building and may involve interventions into the vitrines holding the permanent collections. The Museum also hosts exhibitions in collaboration with galleries and other institutions in the Special Project Space (SPS) in the Museum Plaza. The Museum has successfully partnered with international museums and institutions to showcase contemporary artists and exhibitions which relate to the Museum’s permanent collection.
A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists 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. Several distinguished contemporary artists including Jitish Kallat, Sudarshan Shetty, L.N. Tallur and Ranjini Shettar have participated in this programme.
Through collaborations with international institutes, the Museum has hosted several exhibitions. Contemporary Photography and the Olympic Posters were presented from the V & A Museum, London. German artist Eberhard Havekost's works were presented in collaboration with the Dresden State Art Collections and the exhibition Social Fabric was showcased with INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts) London, and the Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. The Museum collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum, New York, to present the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai,and the Ermenegildo Zegna group on the project ZegnArt Public in 2013. Most recently, the Museum hosted an acclaimed masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s (Italian, 1378-1455) The Gates of Paradise (1425-52), through a special collaboration with the Guild of the Dome Association, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. Folk Archive, a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture was held in collaboration with the British Council.
Curated by Tasneem Mehta | Co-curated by Himanshu Kadam
The Museum has invited artist and graphic novelist, Sarnath Banerjee, to be a part of its 'Engaging Traditions' exhibition series, which provokes conversations around the Museum's history and collections. Banerjee's practice combines sound with illustrations and text, to create humorous stories derived from history, sociology and mythology. Narrated within the galleries of the 19th century Museum, these eerie, illusory and surreal stories offer critical insights into urban society through the myths and beliefs of our time. The exhibition, 'Spectral Times', follows Birjis Bari, a reporter for a local quarterly magazine, as he records otherworldly encounters with seven characters, which confounds everyday realities.
The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Critical Collective and Fotostiftung Schweiz. The Swiss photographer Walter Bosshard (1892–1975) was a pioneer in the field of photojournalism. A master of both the word and the camera, he made a name for himself as a bridge builder between Asia and Europe, reporting on key political events and daily life in Asia in the 1930s. Today, his photographs and films are a rich source of information for understanding global history. Today nearly 90 years later, his photographs offer a compelling comparison between two dominant figures of Asia, Mahatma Gandhi and Mao Zedong as viewed from a single lens. Photographs of the Dandi March and the training of the Red Army, the message of nationalism and the symbols of resistance that these leaders adopted, reveal salient aspects of Asia’s history.