Another India

Explorations and Expressions of Indigenous South Asia

8 March 2017 to 22 April 2018

Li Ka Shing Gallery, MAA

Bell metal statue of an elephant, carrying a deity in a howdah on its back. Bastar region, Chattisgarh, south India. MAA Z 20345

Bell metal statue of an elephant, carrying a deity in a howdah on its back. Bastar region, Chattisgarh, south India. MAA Z 20345

 

Opening in 2017, the seventieth anniversary of India’s independence from Britain, Another India will explore the tangled histories of artefacts from minority populations in India and how they came to be in the collections in Cambridge.

Over one hundred artefacts, paintings and photographs from the collections of MAA, many of which have never been exhibited before, will be complemented by artworks by contemporary artists from the communities represented, commissioned with support from the Art Fund.

Focusing on communities known variously as Indigenous, ‘Tribal’ or Adivasi (literally ‘original inhabitants), the exhibition will showcase extraordinary and fascinating objects, many of which tell equally intriguing stories. From the Nagas and other peoples in the hills of Northeast India to the Gonds, Todas and Chenchus of the South and the  Santhals and Bhils in the East and West of the country, the displays will present strikingly diverse stories of India, collecting, colonialism and British involvement in the subcontinent.

Head-taker's ornament worn on the chest by a Konyak Naga man, northeast India. In a glass presentation case. Collected by J.H. Hutton. MAA 1950.679

Head-taker’s ornament worn on the chest by a Konyak Naga man, northeast India. In a glass presentation case. Collected by J.H. Hutton. MAA 1950.679

Some of these stories offer different perspectives on histories that are well known. Others deal with less well-known, and sometimes difficult, moments in the shared history of India and the UK. All present versions of India very different from that familiar to most people in Britain – and perhaps in India too.

Another India will be MAA’s contribution to a the University of Cambridge Museums’ ambitious season of exhibitions and events relating to South Asia in 2017, coinciding with the UK-India Year of Culture.

The Exhibition has been generously supported by the University of Cambridge, the Pilgrim Trust and a New Collecting Award from the Art Fund.

Terracotta horse from Rajasthan. Collected by Maya Unnithan-Kumar. MAA 1988.206

Terracotta horse from Rajasthan. Collected by Maya Unnithan-Kumar. MAA 1988.206