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.
In 2017, the Partition of India is marked by its 70th anniversary. Drawing on the readings of departure and partial histories, the exhibition Part Narratives commemorates this event, and brings the art production that surrounded it within museum and art discourse. At the same time it turns our attention to issues of migration as they beset the world at present, to the long shadow of Partition and its passage through time.
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in collaboration with the Institute Francais en Inde and Alkazi Foundation for the Arts.
The experimentation with a light sensitive surface eventually led Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833), inventor of the first photograph– a heliograph – to create a copy-image of a view through his window in Le Gras in 1826. Almost 200 years hence, to usher a festival of photography during Bonjour India 2017-18, this exhibition invokes the birth of an analogue visual form through a process-oriented exhibit, featuring the works of 4 contemporary artists – Uzma Mohsin, Srinivas Kuruganti, Sukanya Ghosh and Edson Dias.
For many Mumbaikars, home is here and there, stretched between two inescapable and complementary polarities. The exhibition depicts the circulatory journey of urban families between their neighbourhoods in Mumbai and their villages in the Konkan. It brings together traditional artistic renderings, architectural drawings of vernacular houses and settlements, portraits of families and model homes made by contemporary artisans, along with interactive digital installations and videos.
The mass exodus from rural India does not end in hyper-dense centres but loops back to villages, which are transforming as rapidly as cities. The railways help millions of city dwellers maintain active links with their ancestral regions and villages. These belong as much to the future as to the past.
'Mumbai Return' explores the relationship between the urban and the rural, the city and the country. It invites Mumbaikars to reflect on their connections with rural India.