A New Gallery Dedicated To South Asian Diasporic Art Is The First Of Its Kind In The UK

A New Gallery Dedicated To South Asian Diasporic Art Is The First Of Its Kind In The UK
South Asia Gallery

After a significant capital re-investment, the University of Manchester's Manchester Museum will reopen to the public on February 18, 2023. This new multilingual gallery will explore the relationship between South Asia and the legacy of Britain’s Empire and offer renewed perspectives on South Asian and British Asian art and culture.

The South Asia Gallery Collective is a group of 30 incredible people, including community leaders, educators, artists, historians, journalists, and musicians who have co-curated the gallery in a number of unique ways. The exhibition will present a plethora of stories that provide visitors a window into South Asian culture by showcasing over 140 antique artifacts from the collections of the Manchester Museum and the British Museum. It will also include new modern commissions and personal objects provided by the collective. The curation has been put together through six main themes – Past & Present, Lived Environments, Innovation & Language, Sound, Music & Dance, British Asian, and Movement & Empire.

New commissions will throng the space and celebrate contemporary South Asian innovation. This will include an imported Bangladeshi rickshaw decorated by communities in Manchester and a 17-meter-long newly commissioned mural from British artists, The Singh Twins, illustrating an emotional map of the South Asian diaspora experience.

A painting titled ‘I beg you to define me’ by Azraa Motala
A painting titled ‘I beg you to define me’ by Azraa MotalaCountry & Town House

There will also be a series of events, performance and a public program will launch, with a distinguished performance space at the center of the gallery. The space will be formed by ideas and contributions from the Collective and the program will be in collaboration with both local and international artists and performers.

"As a first-generation British-born South Asian person, it is really exciting to be part of such a groundbreaking project. The co-curated South Asia Gallery envisages a collaborative, iterative space that will generate new perspectives and connections. We hope to engage further diaspora communities on its opening and support its continual evolution. This personalised approach humanises the gallery, telling stories about real people and their objects."

Nusrat Ahmed, South Asia Gallery Curator at Manchester Museum

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