Museum day for kids: The Body in Indian Art @ National Museum, Delhi
Posted by ramblinginthecity
Taking the kids to the museum on a hot hot day in May makes perfect sense. Except that museums aren’t really the coolest places even in India’s capital city New Delhi. I really wanted to catch the National Museum’s exhibition titled ‘The body in Indian art’ curated by Naman Ahuja. I had read about it and thought it would be interesting.
I didn’t know how the kids would take it though, but summer vacations are made for experimenting. And we found ourselves in the curiously circular National Museum building, embarking on a journey of artistic interpretation that views the body in the light of thematic constructs like spirituality, death, fertility and perfection.
I quite enjoyed the display, but it was quite a bit for the children to take in. Aadyaa and her friend Myrah amazed us by how many characters and situations they could recognize from the popular epics as well as the number of Gods they could recognize from what they wore, what they held in their hands, their expression or posture! Far from us haviong to explain to them, they ran ahead pointing out – “See, Ram, Lakshman and Sita are in vanvaas!” or “Radha and Krishna are on a swing!” or “Vishnuji ke haath mein sudarshan chakra hota hai, dekho!”
At one point, the girls and Udai debated over a figure that had snakes in his hair. The girls thought it was Shiva, while Udai who can read was trying to convince them it is Nagdev (even though he pretended to be bored for the larger part of our time there)!
I was struck repeatedly by waves of nostalgia. Childhood memories of visiting Belur, Halebid, Somnathpuram and later Khajuraho, all of which are full of carved stone statues; many many trips to the Cauvery Emporium on Bangalore’s MG Road where older relatives admired bronzes in tones of awe and admiration. You get the drift- I had been indoctrinated early!
We wrapped the visit up with Udai running up to see the swords and guns, while my friend Hansa and me ensured the girls had something to eat and drink. Of course, the ice lollies we ate in the car park were the highlight of the trip for the kids. Did you really think statues and paintings can compete with ice cream?