A Museum in Bangalore Has Launched a Free On-line Encyclopedia Masking 10,000 Years of Indian Artwork Historical past


An upstart museum in India has launched an open-source digital encyclopedia of knowledge associated to the subcontinent’s wealthy inventive historical past, courting from 10,000 years in the past to the current.

Included on the free platform, which went stay final week, are 1000’s of articles on well-known artists, actions, disciplines, methods, and different subjects; on the Bengal College of modernist painters, as an example, and the Bagh embroidery custom of Punjab. Scrolling via is an expertise akin to page-hopping on Wikipedia, although the knowledge is extra organized and complete—and credible.

The encyclopedia’s creators, a group of researchers for the Museum of Artwork and Images (MAP) in Bangalore, declare that it’s the primary such useful resource that tells the story of India’s inventive traditions in a single, easy-to-read place. Till now, the undertaking’s founder, Nathan Gaskell, defined to the New York Instances, that story was troublesome to seek out contained in the nation. 

“Previous to this, folks acquired their data on Indian artwork both from Western establishments or from the market or from very specialised lecturers who write books that most individuals can’t perceive,” mentioned Gaskell, who serves as director of the establishment’s training arm, MAP Academy.

Bhuri Bai (c. 1980). Courtesy of Hervé Perdriolle.

He and roughly 19 different full-time MAP Academy writers and editors drafted every of the encyclopedia’s 2,000-some entries during the last three years, after which level their work was reviewed by a panel of students. The location’s content material largely facilities round artwork from India now, however Gaskell informed Hyperallergic that he hopes it quickly grows to embody “broader histories of South Asia.” (Equally, the platform is presently solely obtainable in English, however MAP plans to supply Hindi translations sooner or later.)

The museum was based by Abhishek Poddar, a distinguished industrialist and philanthropist whose personal assortment of greater than 7,000 artworks fashioned the inspiration of the establishment’s assortment. After pandemic-related delays, the museum is about to open to the general public later this 12 months. 

“I didn’t even understand that India didn’t have an encyclopedia for artwork. And it was fairly stunning that, being one of many oldest cultures on the earth, no one had considered doing it,” Poddar informed CNN. “Each child is aware of about David, the Mona Lisa, and Botticelli, however there are Indian masterpieces that even 1 % of India doesn’t learn about.”

An 11th century sandstone sculpture of a Celestial dancer (Devata). Courtesy of MAP.

An eleventh century sandstone sculpture of a Celestial dancer (Devata). Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork.

For Poddar, the encyclopedia—in addition to different Academy-produced assets, reminiscent of weblog posts and educational programs—exemplifies MAP’s constitutional dedication to training. It’s a vow he hopes can have a big affect on the area’s curiosity in artwork.

“If we actually need to develop a museum-going tradition and make the humanities related, it wants a foundation in training—and one that’s accessible and obtainable freely, not simply to museum guests,” he mentioned. “It’s important to begin investing in issues that you could be or might not even see within the subsequent 5 or 10 years—it could be a technology later.” 

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