8th Oct 2013 5:30pm
I iota Design History and Material Culture Research Group Seminar Series.
UK museums are increasingly working with diaspora communities as part of their everyday practice. This paper examines this process as a design agenda of the post-colonial museum on the one hand, and the performance of nationalist identities, on the other. The paper draws upon the examples of a permanent display and temporary performance-based events which took place at Brighton Museum from 1997. In 1997, the Brighton Museum commissioned Balavendra Elias to carve a Ganesh statue for the India in Brighton project. In 2002, Elias was commissioned to work with the local Hindu Women’s Group to carve three domes for a nineteenth century shrine held in the collection and a donation box. These pieces were on permanent display in the ethnographic gallery in the museum until 2012. The Hindu Elders' Group designed and made costumes and adornments for the deities in the shrine, which was opened in a religious ceremony performed by a Hindu priest. The ritual performed in the gallery, however, was a revised version, a staging with a largely demonstrative function. Throughout this process, the museum became a platform for the negotiation and performance of postcolonial cultural identities and Hindu nationalist sentiment. From the museum’s perspective, Elias was exhibited as a ‘maker’ and the diaspora as the ‘authenticator’ of the collection.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org