By Siddhi JainNew Delhi, Nov 17 (IANSlife) Having gone virtual for many of their exhibitions and art-based interactions, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in the national capital has now reopened for visitors, who seem only too happy to be reconnecting with Indian master artists after months of the gallery being closed.
Notably, all museums, art galleries and exhibitions under the Ministry of Culture were closed to the public on March 17, ahead of the COVID-induced lockdown.
They reopened on November 10 according to standard operating procedures and guidelines issued by the Ministry.
As per IANSlife’s conversation with Adwaita Gadanayak, the director-general of NGMA, virtual is a medium that helped NGMA cast the net far and wide.Art Adda, their art-based interactive monthly meeting platform for art lovers and artists, went virtual with the lockdown.
“Even in the lockdown, we we experimenting with going digital.Art adds colour to life, and is extremely important to stay connected to.In our virtual ‘art addas’, we saw that we can connect to national and international artists also, not just those in Delhi.It is easier to connect virtually,” Gadanayak said over phone.
The gallery, located at a stone’s throw from Delhi’s tourist hotspot India Gate, has a vast permanent collection of Indian modern and contemporary art, saw close to 300-400 visitors every day, before COVID-19, said the official.
On the first day after the reopening, the figure plummeted to 150, and even more on the second day, he informed, adding that it is mostly the young generation coming out and the real numbers will be known after the festivities.
How quick will be the recovery? “We are exercising all precautions and ensuring safety.Hopefully, we should be back to normal numbers soon.It seems like people are afraid of stepping out now,” said Gadanayak.
A successful artist himself, and the mind behind the National Police Memorial in the national capital, Gadanayak, says that it is frustrating and stressful for artists to not venture out into the real world for inspiration and fresh ideas.
“Due to the COVID-induced lockdown, artists could only stay in their studios.Artists interacting with the society keeps it lively and motivating.As NGMA, we try to connect to all Delhi-based and far-off artists to hear about their art and plans,” he shared.
NGMA in Mumbai and Bengaluru have also opened up, and are yet to see a decent number of visitors, said the NGMA DG.Last year, the massive retrospective exhibition held on artist Upendra Maharathi has traveled from Delhi to Bengaluru.
Gadanayak also spoke about some structural changes NGMA could start working on, soon.“People try to connect with the art, they try to come close to it and click selfies.We want that art must be given the respect it deserves.Abroad, masterpieces like da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ are highlighted like a diamond.There are many layers of security and a different style of display.
“Here, we have such great artists like Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, M.F.Husain, Amrita Sher-gill and more.We want to display them properly.When we give them respect, the public will also respect them like that,” he signed off.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected]