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November 10, 2017

This Exhibition Will Take You Through Thousands Of Centuries of India’s History

Text by Huzan Tata

India and the World: A History in Nine Stories is a mammoth exhibition in Mumbai in association with the British Museum, London…

How do you compress over 2,500 years of history into one exhibition? Ask the makers of a grand showcase at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), who in association with the British Museum in London and the National Museum, New Delhi, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, have put together India and the World: A History in Nine Stories. Aiming to acquaint viewers with our country’s age-old heritage from the Harappan times to post-Partition India, it will include over 200 objects from various collections, 123 being from the London museum.

“The exhibition provides an opportunity to people from diverse countries and cultures to become partners in the world narrative, and motivates them to reclaim and reposition their own unique regional national and global identities in the changing cultural landscape of the world,” says Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the director general of CSMVS. Adds Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, “This is a unique transcontinental partnership of a kind not attempted before…. The landmark project showcases some of the most important works from the Indian Subcontinent in dialogue with iconic pieces from the British Museum’s world collection”. From Mughal miniatures and statues from the Indus Valley Civilisation to heirloom textiles, this exhibition — supported by the Tata Trusts and the Getty Foundation — promises to take viewers on a journey through the world, from an Indian perspective. Wondering what’s the one reason you shouldn’t miss this show? Simply “to understand India’s glorious past and its relationship with the outside world”, as Mukherjee says.

Director speak by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, CSVMS Mumbai:

Genesis “It was our desire to highlight India’s glorious past through iconic art objects from Indian collections that would represent important moments in the country’s history as set in a wider global context, with an aim to explore connections and comparisons between India and the rest of the world.”

Challenges “The exhibition is an experiment, the first of its kind outside the United States, the United Kingdom and European borders, that attempts to provide a model for museums to share their collections with people across the world. The challenge was to involve so many institutes and private collectors in this collaborative project. This is one of the most complex projects which we ever handled in terms of objects, space, and funding.”

Highlights “The objects from the British Museum and Indian museums and private collectors, together in conversation, unlock fascinating stories and histories, and help us understand how we relate to the wider world. One should not miss a single story. There could not be a more important time to view India on the world stage.”

India and the World: A History in Nine Stories will be on display at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai from November 11 onwards.

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