New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) In the latest example of public-private partnership in the Indian cultural scenario, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Culture Ministry have collaborated for a series of workshops at Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb to enhance public appreciation of India’s art and cultural heritage.
Titled “Heritage Art Project”, the series of day-long weekend workshops will take place later in January, as the organisers roll out their first project at the Unesco World Heritage Site Qutub Minar here.
“Within the monument perimeter, we will set up an appropriate venue with attractive signage and posters. We will have experts present to tell visitors about the monument, its makers, its history, the architectural and cultural techniques deployed to build it,” art patron Kiran Nadar told IANS over email.
After these two world-renowned heritage sites frequented by thousands each day, the project aims to travel pan-India by 2020.
Reiterating that art is anything but ‘elitist’, and the way forward is for private players and the government to aim at growing the constituency for art and culture, Nadar said this project would bridge the gap between the arts and the general public.
Also targeted towards school-goers, the limited duration workshops would be free to attend with the KNMA organising the events and the ASI providing the logistics.
Why should art and culture be restricted to closed venues where the elite assemble for exhibitions, concerts and plays, the avid art collector questioned.
“We need to involve schools, communities and institutions with a view to making art and culture a regular experience. Such activities will generate more interest, more people will become involved. The idea is to go from being just supply-driven to demand-driven,” she explained.
Although Delhi’s culture and architecture enthusiasts are often seen stepping out for weekly heritage walks conducted by various collectives, the Heritage Art series will rope in general visitors of these sites at the spot.
“We hope to hold many more such workshops and events that will help to bring the spotlight on India’s rich and breathtaking cultural and archaeological heritage.
“This initiative will spark interest in the general public and help to generate awareness and nurture sustained interest in our country’s rich history,” Additional Director General (Archaeology), ASI, Urmila Sant said in a statement to IANS.
As more and more museums, art galleries and culture festivals accelerate their efforts at engaging the public, and more urban residents turn to alternative options of infotainment, this cultural-visual dialogue with the layperson does open new avenues for popular participation and appreciation of art and culture.
However, for public projects like this one, the pressing demands of sustainability and scalability do remain, and will only be answered with time, as noted institutions cast their net wider.