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A visit to India

30 October 2007 by Emma

As I’m going to India at the end of the week I thought this would be a good time to write my first blog. Technology permitting I’m hoping to send in a few blogs while I’m away. As a quick introduction my name is Emma Martin and I’m Head of Ethnology and Curator of Asia collections based at World Museum. My trip is part-holiday, but also part-work as I’ll be presenting a paper on a contemporary collecting project I’m working on with colleagues in India and I’ll also be collecting new objects for the Weston Discovery Centre at World Museum.

A series of arch ways, which each have a swing attached, many of the swings have people using them. Above the arches stand a series of enormous horses decorated with white mosaic

The plaza at Nek Chand’s garden

I’m flying out to Delhi on Saturday and although the shopping and restaurants are fantastic I’ll only be there for a few days before I head off to Chandigarh. Chandigarh is a relatively new city designed by Le Corbusier the famous modernist architect. I’m not going for the modernist architecture though, but for the incredible Nek Chand garden. This fantastic garden was started by one man, Nek Chand, using reclaimed land he built, in secret, amazing structures, including waterfalls, bridges and plazas and covered them with mosaic designs populating the place with mosaic-covered people and animals. It’s hard to imagine so I’ve added a picture so you can get a better idea. The place is now so big that I’ve been told it is the second most visited tourist attraction in India after the Taj Mahal! This is where I’m giving my paper. I’m presenting with Minhazz Majumdar, the co-director of The Earth and Grass Workshop. Together we’re working on a commissioning project for NML, asking a number of well-known Indian artists to create new works for NML’s collection, it’s a really exciting project and we’re both really pleased with how it’s going so this seemed like a great opportunity for us to speak about it together. I’ll write more about the collecting project as it develops and as the new works start to arrive in Liverpool.

After the conference I’ll be heading to Orissa a beautiful state on the east coast, which is famous for its temples and crafts. While I’ll be spending time relaxing, catching up with friends and hopefully doing a bit of tiger-spotting (!), I’ll also be visiting a number of villages known for a whole variety of crafts and I hope to pick up a few things while I’m there for the Weston Discovery Centre.

So fingers crossed I’ll be posting from India next week, giving you a sneak preview of some of the new objects you’ll be able to find in the Weston Discovery Centre early next year.

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