Kolkata is considered the cultural capital of India, and so it’s no surprise that the city is one of the most museum-rich cities in India. There is the famous National Museum, one of the biggest and best museums in India. It covers almost all aspects of human endeavour. Then there are separate collections, some of them quite substantial, on art, culture, folk art, social history and science. There is also the Nehru Children’s Museum which houses one of the biggest collections of dolls in the country.
Recent additions include Arts Acre, an art museum and gallery in Rajarhat, and Boat Museum in Kankurgachi. The latter is a very innovative idea; in fact, it is India’s first museum exclusively devoted to water transport, showcasing the maritime power that India has been from ancient times. A wax museum inspired by the world famous Madame Tussauds museums is in the offing.
Another museum which would soon see the light of day is an art and sculpture museum inside the state Assembly building in the Dalhousie area. Like the Boat Museum, this too is going to be a first-of-its-kind in a way, as no other state Assembly building in India houses a full-fledged museum.
The specific idea behind the project is to showcase the eminent persons of the state who have contributed immensely towards the welfare of the nation. Art and sculpture would find a place in the museum. The museum would start with the sculptures of ten to twelve eminent personalities of West Bengal. Sculptors have already been started to be consulted with respect to creating the statues as well as to which eminent personalities to start the museum with. Along with those, there would be an art space where works of eminent painters like Jamini Roy would be exhibited.
Traditionally there has been a lot of give and take of ideas between artists and sculptors of West Bengal and other parts of the country as well as abroad. Rabindranath Tagore is a prime example, who was immensely influenced in every aspect of his creation by ideas and objects from all over the world, and who influenced so many others. As a nod to this intra- and transnational aspect of art and culture with respect to West Bengal, a separate space inside the museum has been planned to house fibre-glass replicas of art forms from different states as well as different countries.
A 2,000 sq ft area has been earmarked inside the majestic white heritage structure for the museum. The state government has entrusted the public works department (PWD) to set up the place. This would be another welcome addition to the long list of museums in Kolkata, and yet another place for the culturally-minded people of the state as well as for visitors to slake their thirst.
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