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Unveiling India’s largest art and culture centre -Kiran Nadar Museum of Art’s new building by Sir David Adjaye

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Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) unveils an architectural model of its new building. Designed by renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye in collaboration with S. Ghosh & Associates as local architect of record, it is set to become India’s largest cultural centre when it opens in Delhi in 2026. This celebration coincides with the breaking ground of the museum on site in New Delhi.

Surrounding the model as the centrepiece, the exhibition includes works from the museum’s collection by Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009), Zarina (1937-2020) and Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) , which spans more than a century. This is accompanied by Touch AIR (2023), a film by contemporary filmmaker Amit Dutta.

KNMA was established in 2010 by one of India’s eminent art collectors, Kiran Nadar, as a pioneering private museum exhibiting modern and contemporary works from India and the subcontinent. It currently has branches in New Delhi and Noida. The new location, covering over 100,000 square metres, will be located on the National Highway (NH8) in Delhi, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The museum’s collection of over 10,000 modern and contemporary works draw on the region’s rich cultural history. The new KNMA will host changing exhibitions, permanent displays, and performances as an international cultural destination for visual arts, music, dance, and theatre and enable far more of the collection to be seen at any one time.

The exhibition responds and explores the theme of ‘Mnemonic’ through image, text, architecture (model) and the moving image. It amplifies through their co-existence the relationship between ‘museum and memory’, suspending the movement of time between the past and the present, while alluding to the theme of Partition, (of India and Pakistan in 1947) the line that ruptured a unified sense of place and being.

Tyeb Mehta’s imagery in restructuring the pictorial space amplifies the use of the diagonal line that splinters and mends while expressing the interiority of unspoken pain and historical burden. Zarina’s poetic ruminations on home, memory and displacement resonate with the theme of separation and belonging from a feminine and nomadic vantage point. The film by Amit Dutta, invokes Nasreen Mohamedi’s personal notes and her unique singular vision, drawing upon the aesthetics of the bare line, its metaphysical journey eliminating physical borders/barriers to traverse spaces between the known and unknown.

Kiran Nadar, Founder/Chairperson of KNMA: “We are very excited to be unveiling the model of the new building. The newly built space of KNMA has been conceived as a world-class cultural centre, a state-of-the-art building and a cultural powerhouse open to all. It will be a place for cultural discovery, a place for confluence and diverse conversations, with a high engagement across a broad range of audiences. At the heart of KNMA is the notion of giving back to society, preserving treasures of the cultural past and nurturing a young generation of creative practitioners and thinkers, while bridging the gap between art and the public.”

Architect, Sir David Adjaye: “KNMA provides an opportunity to embolden the rise of contemporary Indian art, releasing a new cultural offering for both the people of India, as well as for the wider global arts landscape. Its location in Delhi–one of the oldest cities in the world with a lineage of habitation that stretches to the 6th century BCE–gives new context to its position as a dynamic, living cultural force. As such, its specific location within the city directly influences the new building’s form, rhythm and landscape.”

Roobina Karode, Director & Chief Curator, KNMA“The upcoming complex provides an opportunity for KNMA to chart novel grounds as we take the museum towards new horizons. With the new architecture in place, we address how the question of memory and history in the post-Partition subcontinent presented the crucial sites for artistic inquiry, unravelling the mechanics and structures of remembrance along the fault lines of time and space.”

The architecture model was also unveiled earlier today as part of the Curator’s Special Projects at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Lesley Lokko. The 18th International Architecture Exhibition, titled The Laboratory of the Future, runs from 20 May to 26 November 2023 at the Giardini, Arsenale, and Forte Marghera; with pre-opening on 18 and 19 May 2023.

KNMA acknowledges the Tyeb Mehta Foundation, Imran Chishti from Zarina’s family, the Estate of Nasreen Mohamedi and Deepak Talwar for their co- operation and support.

The model will be on view for the public at KNMA Saket from 19 to 28 May 2023.

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