‘Maharaja Collection’ gets a new home: National Gallery of Modern Art to house Air India artwork | India News


NEW DELHI: The capital’s prestigious National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) will be the new home to Air India’s priceless “Maharaja Collection” of artwork. These include works by greats like M F Husain, Vasudev Gaitonde, B Prabha, Shankar Palsikar, Lakshman Pai, Arpana Caur, S H Raza, K H Ara and Hari Ambadas Gade.
It also has works of art by living legends like Anjolie Ela Menon and Jatin Das. The Union aviation and culture ministries signed an MoU for handing over the artworks to NGMA on Wednesday.

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Over its 80 plus years of existence — first as an airline started by J R D Tata and then as a PSU before returning to the founder group last year — AI had acquired a large number of valuable artworks from around the world consisting of paintings, sculptures, wooden carvings, glass paintings, decorative items, textile art, photographs and other objects.

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Once AI was re-privatised last year, the government had decided to shift the artwork collection from AI Building in Mumbai’s Nariman Point — a landmark that is being sold, possibly to the Maharashtra government — to NGMA.

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Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said AI art collection “will spread awareness about Indian culture worldwide and suggested that the same “should not be confined to Delhi, but be taken worldwide as well as in various parts of the country” to showcase India’s soft power. The artworks being handed over NGMA not only contain modern art masterpieces but also have a wide range of exquisite handloom, sculptures and other art pieces.

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Union culture minister G Kishan Reddy under the MoU, priceless artefacts collection of Air India since 1953 is being transferred to NGMA.

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“Air India and aviation ministry have worked hard to preserve and protect these valuable artworks. We will preserve these artworks for the coming generations. (This) collection will be displayed before art-lovers in a soon to be brought out schedule. It will also be opened to audiences abroad through innovative digital interfaces,” Reddy said.

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NGMA has acquired and preserved works of art from 1850s onwards. Its close to 18,000 works span miniature paintings to modernist interventions and

au courant

contemporary expressions.


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