As a new year-treat, my parents decided to take my sister and I for some Dilli-darshan.
For a very long time, I have been a disparager of the museums of Delhi, and you will know what I mean if you visit the Museum of Natural History. The thing is, we have the coolest and richest history, but when you visit the museum, it’s EXTREMELY putting off when you see these hunks of stone (no matter how intricately and brilliantly inlaid) set up on pathetic pedestals against this hospital blue of the walls. These is vandalism of the plaques, and perhaps even the exhibits and no kind word to enlighten the viewer about what’s going down.
So, when my parents mentioned that we’re going to the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts, I was HUGELY skeptical. At the same time, I had seen an ad in the paper (and in Gayatri’s hand) about an exhibition on Delhi at the aforementioned venue. While I was interested, the prospect of aimlessly meandering through carelessly put up exhibits was not quite my style.
I was, however, in for a HUGE surprise when I saw the exhibitions!!
The first one was a exhibition of photographs taken by members of the Deen Dayal Studio which existed in the late 19th century. The pictures capture most of architectural India, including some delightful 1880-90 shots of Mumbai and Kolkata, resplendent in their imperialism. Then, there are lots and lots of pictures of our rajas- at home. hunting etc etc. The striking thing about our native rulers was their stark ugliness. I found NOT one raja who was even remotely presentable. Contrasted with their British counterparts, these rajas appeared sloppy, hairy and most undeniably, inferior (inspite of their monetary and status-tical superiority)
The second exhibition was the Delhi one. An exhibition that made my very curious about my city and, well, proud too. The exhibit was put together beautifully and with care that was encouraging and heartening to see. I’m including some photos, and I plan to, as soon as I can get my hands on this particular book, do a mini-series on Delhi.
The pictures are a little crooked and not that nice, but shooting with a Blackberry is CONFUSIIING!!
Then we went to the Gallery of Modern Art to see the works of Anish Kapoor [His website].
I’m sure you’ve heard of him, since he’s been all over the papers for quite some time now. I had heard quite a bit and was quite excited to see his work. The Gallery of Modern Art is a pretty cool place, well-built and generally European enough to be approved of by me.
Kapoor’s work was, to say the least, extremely confusing. He has great ideas, he may, in fact be a genius. But it confused the life out of me. He prefers to work on and with the abstract, with the extraordinary. His work spans mammoth scale in terms of size and scope. I was impressed, no doubt. But i also got a fearful headache trying to decipher his meaning. I wouldn’t say what he does is visually appealing. It’s not always that. It just, calls upon your spatial senses. Something that has never been done before, or at least, in front of me. Check out his website for some pics, but trust me, you have to see it to believe it.
The Delhi one too. It’s pretty awesome.