NEW DELHI: The Centre is working to institutionalise global cultural initiatives and develop a modern system on the lines of similar events in Venice, London and Sao Paulo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday while inaugurating the inaugural edition of the Indian Art, Architecture and Design Biennale from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
The biennale, which aims to establish itself as a flagship global cultural initiative for the country, will feature exhibitions based on themes chosen for each day, from December 9 to 15.
During the weeklong event, the Red Fort will be home to replicas of architectural landmarks.
Prime Minister Modi said such programmes should get a global identity as similar events in some of the world’s cities.
A lot of work has been going on with a sense of pride to develop places associated with Indian art and architecture, he said, citing the examples of development and renovation of holy places such as Kedarnath and Mahakal.
“India’s vibrant culture and ancient heritage attract tourists from all over the world,” he said.
“We also had the Museum Expo (in May) and the Festival of Libraries in August. Through these events our effort is to institutionalise global cultural initiatives and develop a modern system. We want that similar to such events and festivals hosted in Venice, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, London, these kinds of events held in India also get their identity,” he added.
Mugdha Sinha, joint secretary, Ministry of Culture, said the biennale has been in the making for several months.
She said Prime Minister Modi had given a call for such an event in 2020, adding that governments are increasingly realising their soft power, particularly in regions like West Asia.
The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is among the curators and partners — which include the Archaeological Survey of India, National Council of Science Museums, Lalit Kala Akademi, the Council of Architecture and the education ministry — for the exhibitions.
The exhibitions will be based on seven themes.
These include “Pravesh: Rite of Passage: Doors of India” on day 1; “Bagh-e-bahar: Gardens as Universe: Gardens of India” (Day 2); “Sampravah: Confluence of Communities: Baolis of India” (Day 3); “Sthapatya: Anti-fragile algorithm: Temples of India” (Day 4); “Vismaya: Creative Crossover: Architectural Wonders of Independent India” (Day 5); “Deshaj Bharat Design: Indigenous Designs” (Day 6) and “Samatva: Shaping the Built: Celebrating Women in Architecture” (Day 7).
“The adaptive use of cultural heritage is happening across countries. Since India has such a rich heritage, the mandate was to showcase it,” said Sinha.
In May this year, at the Museum Expo 2023, the culture ministry signed memorandums of understanding with the cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Varanasi to reinvent cultural spaces.
A couple of months prior to that, a concert by multiple Grammy winner Ricky Kej at the Gateway of India in Mumbai was an initiative of the ministry and NGMA in the same mould, pointed out Sinha.
The biennale follows other initiatives such as the Museum Expo and Festival of Libraries in August.
It is designed to start a conversation between artists, architects, designers, photographers, collectors, art professionals and the public to strengthen cultural dialogue, the PMO said.
With the biennale, “we are expanding the contours of art by introducing architecture and design” to tap into the potential of the creative community of gig workers, she added.
Apart from the themed pavilions at the Red Fort, there will be an eighth gallery — that of public art, which will include the works of 125 artists selected from more than 550 entries and public art installations on the premises of the monument.
Visitors can also shop at an art bazaar that is inspired by the Chatta Chowk Bazaar (covered market) tourists encounter within the confines of Red Fort.
With inputs from PTI