Shriniwas Agawane and Deepti Mulgund
Grant Period: Eight months
For the creation of curatorial work in collaboration with the Education and Conservation Departments at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai towards one or more exhibits drawing upon the museum's existing collections, which will travel around Maharashtra in a specially designed bus.
IFA’s museum fellowships have been established to enable emerging curators to gain experience of working with museums, and encourage the development of a locally-engaged and critical curatorial practice, in collaboration with museums invested in public engagement. In this first collaboration with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), fellowships have been awarded to Deepti Mulgund and Shriniwas Agawane, to work on CSMVS’s mobile bus project to take its collections out to audiences across Maharashtra.
Shriniwas Agawane, a visual artist, designer, writer and teacher, works as an arts educator with schools in Mumbai through his organisation Chitrapang Society. He completed his BFA from the JJ School of Arts in 2006, and has since curated a number of small shows in Mumbai. Shriniwas is keenly interested in the question of audiences for museum collections, and his commitment to reaching audiences across rural Maharashtra. He suggested that the cultural contexts of the audiences imagined for the mobile bus exhibition will need to be sensitively understood in order that the exhibition engages them actively.
Deepti Mulgund completed an MA in Art History in 2007 from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has worked with the Devi Art Foundation as co-curator for the ‘Video Lounge’ section of the India Art Summit (2009) and as assistant curator for the Devi Foundation’s ‘Where in the World’ exhibition. She has also worked as research assistant at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. Deepti is keenly interested in the idea of the museums’ publics and has previously worked with Prof Kavita Singh on a project which looked at public engagement in the museum in Aundh. The fellowship offers Deepti an opportunity to put into practice her training as an art historian and to develop her interest in museums and their publics outside a purely theoretical framework.
Deepti and Shriniwas will work together as curator fellows at CSMVS from March to June 2013, and re-commence work on the mobile bus project for a month in September, after the monsoon has subsided and the bus is ready to travel with its first exhibition. Following a day-long workshop at CSMVS on March 05, 2013, the scope of their work during the fellowship period has been narrowed down and includes:
- Working with the curators at CSMVS to conceptualise a theme and select objects for curation on the mobile bus;
- Working with the education department at CSMVS to devise educational and outreach materials and programmes to engage audiences;
- Researching and understanding the museum’s collections, the intended audiences of the mobile bus, and other such initiatives implemented by other museums in India;
- Liaising with the bus designer, exhibitions consultant and curators to work on lighting, framing, storage, maintenance, and security systems for the bus exhibit;
- Studying the demographics, and social and cultural contexts of the towns and villages through which the bus might travel and to curate one or more routes for the mobile exhibitions.
It is envisaged that the fellowships will enable Deepti and Shriniwas to take forward their interest in the visual arts, museums, and public engagement and allow them to gain on-ground experience of working with large collections within institutional settings. It will also offer CSMVS an opportunity to engage fresh ideas and perspectives to provide their current curatorial approach an impetus. IFA, in collaboration with CSMVS, will determine suitable modes of dissemination through public presentations and media coverage during and after the fellowship period.