Ghare Baire - Looking to the Past - 3D virtual exhibition by DAG

Ghare Baire - Looking to the Past

Sun, 06/14/2020 to Tue, 06/30/2020

curated by:


Explore DAG's Ghare Baire museum-exhibition from home with Heritage Walk Calcutta. The Ghare Baire collection features three centuries of art from Bengal, tracing the evolution of the visual landscape in the region over three centuries, through exchanges between the local and the global, as Bengal became the center of the colonial world.

Each week in June, we will be curating selections from our collection through our virtual viewing room. The second edition of this series, ‘Looking to the past’, explores the art that was inspired by the multiple expeditions to the Ajanta caves at the turn of the 19th century, leading to the emergence of a new "Indian" identity and history.

‘Looking to the Past’ takes us back to the start of the Swadeshi movement, where a new generation of artists from Bengal, led notably by Abanindrath Tagore, were rejecting colonial standards of art to rediscover and define a new canon of classical Indian art. They found support in the European Orientalists and Asian philosophers from South Asia and Japan, whose scholarship, networks and financial support led to new efforts to document, collect and popularize a new revivalist aesthetic, based on the visual history of the subcontinent.

A part of these efforts, was a series of Ajanta expeditions- first led by John Griffiths of the J.J. School of Art, Bombay and then by Lady Christiana Herringham, where art students spent several winters in the Ajanta Caves, copying and studying the Buddist murals. Some of these young artists went on to become the most recognized names in Indian art - Nandalal Bose, Asit Kumar Haldar, and Pestonji Bomanji among others.

The expeditions were a part of a rich discourse on whose past, and which histories would form the foundation of this new “Indian” art. These contestations led to the emergence of an extensive body of art works by the leading artists of the time, that is now widely recognized as the ‘Bengal School of Art’. While it is undeniable that the artworks of the Bengal School all share deep influence of the Ajanta expedition, through the diversity of expressions and approaches that emerged at the time, this exhibition also explores the inherent challenges in trying to create a singular idea of history, tradition and national identity.

more exhibitions of DAG


Ghare Baire - Looking Beyond the City

26 Jun 2020 to 03 Jul 2020


Ghare Baire - Looking East

19 Jun 2020 to 30 Jun 2020

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