Art is the reflection of a society’s soul and an expression of life that has existed on earth. It tells the story of who we are and where we come from, revealing insights into the progress and history of mankind. Art is integral to helping us understand our identity as a community and as a nation. This is why I am filled with a sense of pride and exhilaration as we approach the launch of two significant art spaces in Bengaluru that I believe will change the cultural landscape of not only this city but the country. MAP or the Museum of Art & Photography is a new museum that looks to democratise art, taking it into the heart of the community. Alongside this is the Science Gallery, Bengaluru whose mission is to connect science to society and create an informed environment for debate and inquiry through the rigour of science.
The intersection of science and the arts is a fertile space that has stimulated some of the greatest discoveries and inventions of our world. Their interdependence has often been understated and we have only to look at the story of one of the world’s greatest artists to understand the science of art. Leonardo da Vinci, one of the key figures of the Italian renaissance used his extensive scientific studies to create some of the greatest art the world has seen. As an engineer who was hugely ahead of his time, he is believed to have provided us with early prototypes for the helicopter, the parachute, and the armoured vehicle. Many of these early models were designed to be used in theatrical productions and pageants that Da Vinci was commissioned to present. He spent hours in hospital morgues carefully dissecting the human body to understand the structure of muscle and bone. It was these meticulous studies that have given us works like the Vitruvian Man, an invaluable drawing of the proportions of the human body that links man to nature, representing the concept of the macrocosm and the microcosm that da Vinci arrived at through his scientific explorations.
It is this interface of science and the arts that provides us opportunities to develop skills that enable creative thinking and a critical spirit of inquiry. Bengaluru is the IT capital of the country, and I am astounded at how successfully MAP has capitalised on its location to tap into the skills of this sector. MAP Labs is a concept that hopes to use technology to provide solutions for art and enhance the museum experience, especially for young people.
Their partnership with Accenture has helped build a 3D persona of MF Husain, one of India’s most iconic artists. Though Husain is no more, visitors to the museum can learn more about him by chatting with his digital twin. MAP was also chosen to partner with Microsoft on their Tech for Good initiative that looks at using Artificial Intelligence or AI for the benefit of society. Interwoven was the project developed as a result of this collaboration that seeks to link MAP’s textile collection with collections from partner institutions across the world, based on geographies, mediums, religions, and cultures. These cross-cultural connections encourage us to understand other communities better and build networks that are inclusive.
And finally, I have always held that supporting the arts is an invaluable philanthropic investment.
This is our heritage and our inheritance – if we do not invest in it, who will? It is time for every member of the community to step forward and play their part. I strongly believe that both MAP and the Science Gallery will be the catalysts for change that will stimulate the cultural climate of South India and set a new standard for art institutions across the country. I urge you to join the movement and make sure you are not left behind.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics & founding patron – Museum of art & Photography (MAP)
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