Karl Khandalavala was a lawyer by profession, but he came to be known for his love for art and more importantly, his contribution to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), previously known as the Prince of Wales Museum.
During his student days in London, he acquainted himself with European contemporary art and his love for history led him to the study of Indian art as well.
“He began collecting art works and ancient artifacts for the national museum and for his personal collection and he donated 800 artifacts to the museum,” says Sabyasachi, Mukherjee, Director, CSMVS.
Khandalavala’s donation led to the opening of the Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Gallery in 2004. And now, the gallery has been re-organised to include more artifacts and become interactive by sharing information about the artifacts and about Khandalavala.
“Earlier the gallery had about 35 artifacts, now, it will display about 73 art objects in total — about 55 artifacts and 20 odd photographers, taken by Khandalavala, who was also a noted photographer,” informs Mukherjee.
Khandalavala’s collection was large and diverse and included miniature paintings, Pahari paintings including Nainsukh paintings, wood works and a lot more. “He was fascinated by traditional Indian art forms and that was seen in his collection. His collection also includes 18th century wood works,” adds Mukherjee.
Since, all the artifacts cannot be displayed, there will be audio-visual presentations on the artifacts that are not on display giving details about them. “We have tried to make it more interactive with audio-visuals and projectors that will give additional information about the artifacts and about Khandalavala as well,” he shares.
The re-organised gallery also happens to be the first permanent gallery of CSMVS with climate control checks.
“The gallery will have temperature and humidity control 24/7, all throughout the year. It is very expensive and very few museums in the world have it,” adds Mukherjee. To celebrate these inclusions, a dance presentation titled Vitthala Tujhe Charnee will be held, today.
This dance drama has been choreographed by Dr Kanak Rele and will be presented by Nalanda Dance Research Centre artistes. “The art objects at the gallery represent Indian art and culture.
Khandalavala also had a deep interest in Indian classical art forms. So, we thought it apt to arrange for a classical dance performance for the occasion,” reasons Mukherjee.