London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum will showcase Indian classical instruments as part of India Festival 2015…. reports Ragasudha Vinjamuri
Musical Wonders of India, an online exhibition created by Darbar and the Victoria and Albert Museum, coincides with the V&A’s India Festival 2015 and the 10th annual Darbar Festival at the Southbank Centre, will feature the stories behind 12 Indian classical instruments. A symposium at the V&A on Wednesday 16 September will coincide with the occasion.
The museum is also showcasing a selection of 19th century Indian stringed and percussion instruments drawn from the Museum’s collection from 16 September 2015 – 31 October 2016.
The online exhibition at www.darbar.org/wonders will feature photographs of these musical treasures and other articles on the origins and history of Indian classical music and the instruments, highlighting the new research by music expert Jameela Siddiqui. Over a dozen maestros of Indian classical music feature in the videos, including Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, Kaushiki Chakraborty and many others. filmed and interviewed exclusively at some of the most beautiful locations in India. A selection of photos and information will also be available at www.vam.ac.uk/musicalwonders
The display in the Nehru Gallery at the V&A will show ten beautifully decorated instruments that evoke India’s rich musical traditions, featuring exuberantly painted ornamentations, patterns of fine inlay work and a carving in the shape of a peacock crowned with real feathers.
Guest speakers at the symposium include the legendary musician Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and expert Dr Katherine Butler Schofield. The evening will conclude with a performance by Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, a 21st generation musician from Mumbai, who will play a very rare Sitar Been, which has not been played for over a century and will be specially restrung for the event.
This autumn the Victoria and Albert Museum presents the India Festival; a series of exhibitions, displays, events and digital initiatives that will explore the rich and varied culture of South Asia, both past and present.
The India Festival will mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Museum’s Nehru Gallery, which displays some of the most important objects from the V&A’s South Asian art collection produced between the 16th and 19th centuries.
The major exhibitions as part of this festival include The Fabric of India (3 October 2015 – 10 January 2016) and Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection (21 November 2015 – 28 March 2016).
For more information on the V&A India Festival and headline exhibition The Fabric of India please visitwww.vam.ac.uk/indiafestival