C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 3 - Oct. 1997
Museum of Contemporary Art, Madras, India
On March 14, 1997, a new Museum of Contemporary Art was opened to the public in the campus of the Government College of Arts and Crafts, in the south-Indian port city of Madras. The College itself is a 147-year old institution standing in the middle of a four acre, lush, green park in the heart of the city. The museum collection is housed inside the original Victorian building designed by British architects in the 1850s. The Madras School of Art was founded by Dr. Alexander Hunter in the year 1850 with a focus to promote gold and silver creative craftsmanship.
The art-works of the old Madras Presidency graced the Great Exhibition held in England in 1851. Over the years, the College has managed to keep its traditional forms of artistic expression alive while embracing newer forms of visual representations. The collection of works of art on display present a rather soft and gradual cross-section of western and eastern art voiced through the Dravidian effervescence.
The display itself seems to have grown around Dr. Hunter's old-school industrial arts with sections devoted to modern sculpture, traditional and contemporary paintings. The collection includes works of some of the great masters of the Madras School like K.C.S. Panicker, L. Munuswamy, A.P. Santhanaraj, R. Krishna Rao and others.