Saturday, June 06, 2009

Wellington Art Gallery, Mysore

Last Dec while I was away from work for Christmas vacation, spending the remaining PLs at Mysore, I visited Wellington. Although I had heard and read about the gallery before, I was not sure of what it had for display.

But, it actually stood there as an amazing structure, with quite good collection from all over the country. Later I found out that even the Lonely Planet spoke about Wellington Gallery in Mysore, as 'must visit'.

Why Wellington House?

This is named after Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington who is said to have lived here when he was in political charge of Mysore from 1799 to 1801.

I remember seeing the Wellington House in London and even the Duke of Wellington square, and I have it mentioned in my London post too. Picked this photo from my London archive.

The Southern Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, works from this heritage building popularly known as ‘Wellington House’. This is a central government initiative to preserve tribal and folk art. The main branch is housed at Bhopal.

The ground floor houses the National Folk Art Museum run by the Central Government and the first floor houses the Art Museum run by our State government. It kept me awed for the next 5hr. That’s definitely a lot of time for a Museum of that size, but at the end I was happy to have seen and registered every display. Another reason was that it’s a Museum completely dedicated to Art.

National Museum

It houses every form, from every corner of the country. The mighty Himalayas, the richness of eastern states, the Pathachitra, Phat, Warli, Madhubani and even the Thangka. Clothing and housing styles, musical instrument and what nots. Adding to that was a very friendly and a knowledgeable Curator. Photography was however prohibited, and I however could still photograph the tribal art works displayed in the compound outside. And here they are….

Title : Ayyannar Kovil
Community : Velar
Region : Pudukottai, Tamilnadu

Title : Iron mural depicting Ghotul
Community : Lohar
Region : Bastar, Chhattisgarh

Title : Gond Painting
Community :Mandal
Region : Madhya Pradesh

Title : Bhil Painting
Community :Jhabua
Region : Madhya Pradesh

Title : Simgha Festival
Community :Warli
Region : Thane, Maharashtra

Title :
King Sailesh
Community : Prajapati
Region : Dharbanga, Bihar

Title : Ramayan Katha
Community :Kumbhar
Region : Subarnpur, Orissa

If you closely observe, you can see that the roofing tiles are created to have various creatures. This would surely be a perfect roofing for a Gazebo. :-)

Title : Manasa Kalash
Community :Kumbhakar
Region : Bankura, West Bengal

Title : Gramadev
Community : Kumhar
Region : Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh

Title : Lillari Kothi
Community :Gond
Region : Mandla, Madhya Pradesh

Title : Chittara Art
Community : Sagar
Region : Shimoga, Karnataka

Title : Gramadev
Community : Kumhar
Region : Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh

Title : Mendka Bihav
Community : Kumhar
Region : Bastar, Chhattisgarh

Title : Lillari Kothi
Community : Gond
Region : Mandla, Madhya Pradesh

Every work here was explained. The folk lore and folk art were pretty interesting. I was even gifted with an handbook. Seeing my interest and enthusiasm, the Curator took us to the workshop behind the Wellington House. It had some artists from around the country working on their creations. That was very pleasant indeed....It also has an attached shop where the artists creations were on sale. Since its direct-Artist-to-the-Customer, they are affordable, unique and definitely an appreciable initiative by the Government.

And then while I thanked the curator and decided to take leave, I was informed about the State Museum housed in the first floor.

Some bits about it….

# It does not have a Curator or even at least an informed person.

# Its dedicated to painting styles in Karnataka and specially Mysore Style Painting.

# It houses many works of artists from Mysore.

# A board at the entrance says, ‘Leave your footwear outside. You are entering a temple dedicated to Art’. You'll love the concept.

# Vishnu and Goddesses are more common in Mysore and Tanjore Style. But, here I saw some wonderful creation with Shiva as the Subject. They were definitely falling-in-love-stuff.

# Subhashini Devi a renowned artist from Mysore who lived in early 18th century has a good number of her works on display. As an artist evolve he/she is bound to create a style of their own. And its almost impossible to ape them.

Oil painting, Graphite, Charcoal and Mysore style. I was always jumping around and running around from one room to another. Photography is again prohibited here. I really have plans to observe, learn and reproduce some of them.

Recent update….

While I recently visited the place with another friend of mine (I wanted to show her what we had missed all these day being Mysoreans), I bumped into a team of tourists from Europe. They had tons of questions, while the people in the Museum were ignorant and did not even know basic English. And I were there to explain them every style and answer every question. After an interesting discussion, they profoundly thanked me and made an exit, while another family from Germany entered and I repeated, also exercising the residual Deutsch which I still remember.

But, its fascinating to know that tourists are aware and come in search of this place in Mysore and they know quite a lot about these styles, but disheartening that fellow Indian/Mysorean here isn’t aware of any of these. After this the authorities there invited me to drop-in anytime leisurely to sketch any work which interests me, since Photography is prohibited. You might see some amazing works at my Art blog soon. :-)

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