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“The Museum Within” : Art Exhibition in Delhi dwells on Position and Function of Museums in India

The exhibition proposes alternative forms of inquiry into the preservation of Indian heritage

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New Delhi, November 2, 2016: Museums play a major role in conservation and collection of cultural objects. Drawing from the disciplines of cartography, archaeology and design, an ongoing art exhibition dwells on the position and function of museums.

Donning the mantles of archaeologist, museum curator and conservator, Debasish Mukherjee re-imagines these roles and reconstructs architecture and objects from his past to raise questions around preservation and neglect.

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The exhibition, titled “The Museum Within” that showcases Mukherjee’s sculptures and installations, is on view the at Akar Prakar Art Advisory in Hauz Khas Village till November 30.

The exhibition proposes alternative forms of inquiry into the preservation of Indian heritage. It questions if Indian museums aptly serve as custodians of our culture and collective identity and if our historical sites deserve more respect as emblems of social history.

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“The Museum Within is a gathering of my personal observations of our rich heritage, historical sites and museums of India. This body of work, created between 2015 and 2016 is a result of all that I have seen in the past, admired and wanted to conserve in my own way through my Art,” Mukherjee told IANS.

“At times I wonder why some organisations don’t play a more vital role in the preservation of these sites and objects and what is more disturbing is that even we don’t respect or regard our heritage but treat them merely as ruins instead,” he added.

From time immemorial, the humble clay has remained one of the most popular materials to be shaped by human hands into objects of utility, beauty and spirituality.

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According to the artist, “the material signifies living history. Widely used in India, it still makes the brick that holds our shelters up, a variety of household vessels as well as religious idols for ceremonies.”

The artist’s series of sculpted terracotta pots sit on layers of paper, modeled into square units that appear symbolically aged by the markings of time. Miniaturized plots of sites, the boxed contents urge circumambulation or a parikrama as though of a sacred shrine that belongs to a distant past but one that informs our current social and cultural history. (IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393