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Ghare Baire | The World, The Home, and Beyond | 18th-20th Century Art in Bengal

January 26, 2020 , Press Release


Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inauguratedGHARE BAIRE |THE WORLD, THE HOME AND BEYOND | 18th TO 20th CENTURY ART IN BENGAL at the recently restored Old Currency Building in Kolkata on 11 January 2020. 

Commissioned by Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and

curated and organised by DAG, in collaboration with NGMA, GHARE BAIRE |THE WORLD, THE HOME AND BEYOND is the first comprehensive showcasing of the art and artists of Bengal.

The recently restored three-storeyed Old Currency Building in the heart of Kolkata opens to the public as an ode to the art of Bengal, showcasing art across three centuries. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi said, ‘Such efforts are vital to connect our youth with our priceless heritage.’Union Minister of Culture, Mr Prahlad Patel, also present on the occasion, laudedDAG as a partner in the new beginning of the historic building.

No city, state or region has the deep engagement with art and popular culture that Kolkata, and West Bengal, do. No other state has as rich a history with regard to pre-modern and modern art, not to forget that six artists from here have been honoured with the title of National Treasure artists.

Artists from Bengal include those whose works have been designed as postage stamps, who have illustrated the Constitution of India, painted the corridors of Parliament House with wall frescos, been part of the freedom struggle, and documented the history of the people and the state. Over decades and centuries, Bengal art has transformed to represent a rich and diverse variety in mediums and materials, techniques and skills, subjects and contexts, and provides a fascinating panorama of one of the most exciting centres of art practice in the world.

Designed and curated by DAG to provide a glimpse of the richness, diversity and depth of Bengal’s art over the centuries, GHARE BAIRE |THE WORLD, THE HOME AND BEYOND is sectioned into 12 broad categories, showcasing over 600 artworks, of which the majorityare from the DAG collectionand 19 from the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi.

The art of Bengal from the 18th century to 20th century is showcased in a broad historical chronology:

  1. European Artists in Bengal
  2. Early Bengal Indigenous Art
  3. Realism and Academic Art in Bengal
  4. Bengal ‘School’
  5. Santiniketan: Charting Untrodden Courses
  6. Visualising Bengal’s Man-made Famine
  7. The Liminal Language of Bengal’s Modernists

In addition, there are focus exhibitions, which draw attention to ideas and people which exemplify the art of Bengal, regardless of time.

  1. India’s National Art Treasure Artists
  2. Devi: Intrinsic to the City
  3. Printmaking: Democratising Art
  4. Modern Sculpture in Bengal

And, finally, a special photographic exhibition has been curated on Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest film-makers of the 20th century, and Bengal’s gift to the world.

  1. Photographing Satyajit Ray

This exceptionalexhibitionprovides an overview of the development and spread of modern art in Bengal viewed through the lens of its rich history. But, it also represents so much more than art—it represents, in so many senses, the history of Bengal and of India, its past and present, and the collective concerns and aspirations of millions of people.


‘We are honoured to have the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurate this seminal exhibition. The popular perception of Indian art is closely aligned with what emerged and was excelled at in Bengal. The creation of an exhibition such as this—a huge exercise, as it is a comprehensive display of works by artists of Bengali origin, primarily from the DAG collection—is one of immense pride. This collaboration with the NGMA, under the overarching mandate of the Ministry of Culture through the CEO, Museums and Cultural Spaces as well as the Archaeological Survey of India, has allowed us to expand our commitment of taking art to wider audiences. We are delighted to bring GHARE BAIRE |THE WORLD, THE HOME AND BEYOND to the people of Bengal.’


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