THE MUSEUM OF ART and Photography (‘MAP’) in central Bangalore has just opened (on the 18th of February 2023. Facing the Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technical Museum, MAP is housed in a brand new building with some attractive architectural features.
The edifice has five floors and a basement, which is home to an exorbitantly priced café, run by a company called Smoor. The ground floor has a reception area, a book/gift shop, and some gallery space. This is currently housing an exhibition of fascinating, attractive sculptures by LN Tallur. Some of the works of this contemporary artist allude to Hindu deities in a novel way.
The first floor is home to an auditorium, named after one of MAP’s major donors, Mazumdar-Shaw. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a childhood friend of my wife, is a keen collector of art and has helped finance many other cultural establishments. On the same floor, there is a digital exhibition, whose subject matter can be chosen by the visitor.
The second floor is dedicated to offices and a library. Above this on the third floor, there is currently an exhibition of photographs by Jyoti Bhatt (born 1934), who began his artistic career in the famous art school in Baroda (Vadodara) in Gujarat. His works range from excellent straightforward documentary photography to highly creative artistic photography and collage work.
On the fourth floor, we enjoyed a beautiful exhibition called “Visible/Invisible”. Curated by Kamini Sawhney, Arnika Ahldag, Vaishnavi Kambadur, Riya Kumar and Arshad Hakim, this show explores the visual representation of women in artworks through the ages. Words alone can not do justice to the impactful nature of the display, but I will give you a rough idea of its range. In addition to paintings, modern and old, there are sculptures; photographs; tapestries,; traditional textiles; prints; and a video installation. Most of the artworks in this show were created by Indians or members if the Indian diaspora. The show successfully demonstrates how women have been portrayed over the centuries and how this has changed, especially more recently.
The fifth floor has a terrace from which there are some great views. There were some tables and chairs up there, but the café, if it exists, was not open.
Some years ago, we were in Bangalore when its branch of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) was opened in a restored palatial mansion near the Bangalore Golf Club. A beautifully designed annex was built next to the old building. When it was opened, I decided that it was a ‘must-see’ attraction in Bangalore. It remains so, but MAP in its newly constructed home will join NGMA amongst my suggestions of what should not be missed by visitors (and inhabitants) in Bangalore.