AI4_21_2017_10_34_15_AM_main_image.jpg
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Poster advertising Bombay School Special cigarettes. Artist unknown, c 1930s, print, 56 x 57 cm. Collection: J. and J. Jain, Delhi.

Sunlight soap calendar of 1934, depicting the Hindu god Vishnu with his consorts, Ravi Varma, c.1880s, print 65 x 50 cm. Collection: J. and J. Jain, Delhi.

Hindu Mythological pictures for cigarette advertisement. Ravi Varma, and other unknown artists, early 30th century, 3.5 x 6 cms (each). Private Collection, Delhi

Shri Shri Beenapani (Goddess Saraswati playing the veena) Artists unknown, late 19th century, print, 40 x 30 cm. Collection: Jyotindra Jain, Delhi.

AI4_21_2017_10_34_15_AM_main_image.jpg
News 21 Apr 2017

Indian Popular Culture: The Conquest of the World as Picture, now showing at BDL Museum

Curated by Jyotindra Jain, the Indian Popular Culture: The Conquest of the World as Picture exhibition brings to our understanding the role of Indian visual culture and how some of it has been influenced by the catechism of the Colonial art school and exposed to European culture.

As a nation that has always represented their ideas and conveyed their thoughts through visual culture, curator Jyotindra jain explains through his exhibition, ‘Indian Popular Culture: The Conquest of the World as Picture’, how Indian imagery is a result of technological and cultural shifts through the 19th and 20th centuries.

Look around and you’ll notice how each city in India is flooded by a whirlpool of images. From bollywood posters stuck over walls and shops to eye-catching iPhone sample shots over billboards, you’ll be basking in the company of visual treats everywhere you go.

Presented by the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, the Sanskriti Foundation and The Marg Foundation, the exhibition has been curated by Jyotindra Jain. Exhibiting a critical view of the genesis, perpetual change and transformation of Indian imagery through the 19th and 20th centuries, Jain also goes on to explore the Colonial and European context in the construction of national, social and cultural identities. This could be understood through the exposure to European images, colonial art school, the unveiling of oleographs, lithography, engraving techniques as well as the emanation of photography and proscenium theatre, together influencing a sprout in mythological, cultic and nationalist Indian imagery as seen through the exhibition through such forms as well as the display of film posters and postcards.

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
 

One such is the ad poster ‘Bombay School Special Cigarettes’, demonstrating how a progressing India is intimated on what was cool or trending and how to dress; which is seen through the six yard sari (worn even today).

Poster advertising Bombay School Special cigarettes. Artist unknown, c 1930s, print, 56 x 57 cm. Collection: J. and J. Jain, Delhi.

 

We see the works of Ravi Varma and many others in the visual culture movement. Their work resurrects classical Hindu mythology. Not only did their work gain attention but was also seen circulated all across the country providing a kind of uniformity to what we now recognize as - a visual culture of Hinduism.

Hindu mythology played a pivotal role in the advertisement segment. This could be seen highlighted through Ravi Varma’s Sunlight soap advertisement that depicts the Hindu God Vishnu and his consorts; and another advertisement depicting mythological images printed over 12 cigarette packs. The exhibition therefore demonstrates the power of printing and how mass circulation of images persuaded the nation towards worship and belief. This eventually maneuvered as a patriotic vehicle that helped strengthen the spirit of patriotism and the independence movement, altogether.

Sunlight soap calendar of 1934, depicting the Hindu god Vishnu with his consorts, Ravi Varma, c.1880s, print 65 x 50 cm. Collection: J. and J. Jain, Delhi.

 

Hindu Mythological pictures for cigarette advertisement. Ravi Varma, and other unknown artists, early 30th century, 3.5 x 6 cms (each). Private Collection, Delhi

 

Shri Shri Beenapani (Goddess Saraswati playing the veena) Artists unknown, late 19th century, print, 40 x 30 cm. Collection: Jyotindra Jain, Delhi.

 

A cultural historian and curator, Jyotindra Jain has put together this exhibition and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. This exhibition will only last until next Sunday, 30th April. Go take a look at wh

Popular on CQ