Exploring themes that throw new light on the objects in our collection

October 2019

History of Style

Class, caste, gender, faith, community, identity. We give away so much of who we through what we wear. Looking at 19th-century photographs and watercolour portraits from the Indian subcontinent, it might seem like our ancestors dressed more conservatively, seeking to hide everything but their social status which they wore like an armour. But we can… Read more »

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September 2019

Battles & Battlefields

Come with us as we visit the bloodiest battlefields in our archives and find stories both inspiring and hair-raising. There are heroes here and villains too. But there’s a little bit of truth in both their accounts. While the British may have over-stretched their imagination while documenting the Uprising of 1857, they were grudging in… Read more »

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July 2019

This Just In

Before you try to find it, let us clarify right away that there isn’t a common thread connecting the five artists in our Spotlight this month. The art of Bhupen Khakhar, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Manisha Gera Baswani, Dibin Thilakan and Gopa Trivedi are covered by the umbrella term ‘modern and contemporary art’ but this slightly worn… Read more »

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June 2019

Magnificent Beasts

Without animals, human history, culture and art would look very different. Whenever language has failed us, we have sought inspiration from these voiceless co-passengers hurtling with us through space on a blue planet. When we want to represent wealth and power beyond all imagining, we summon up the elephant. When we want to symbolise valour… Read more »

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May 2019

City of Stars

From a poor little island to the first city of India. We go back in time to visit the sleepy port town at the heart of the Bombay Presidency that would transform into the Mumbai of today. We bring you rare photographs, engravings and other precious archival material to piece together a picture of how… Read more »

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May 2019

Sacred Space

The earliest temple was a humble place that served as a conduit between hope and whatever higher power held human fates in its hand. As faith in this unseen hand grew, so did the edifice that gathered the hopeful. Today, temples are among the richest repositories of our nation’s artistic, social and cultural legacies. Join… Read more »

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April 2019


To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, we dedicated March 2019 to the most gifted women artists represented in the Sarmaya collection. We celebrated their often-unsung genius by helping others discover it through the sprawling warrens of Wikipedia. Sarmaya participated in an international campaign by Art+Feminism to get more women editing and featuring on the internet’s favourite reference guide. Sarmaya’s team… Read more »

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February 2019

Love Stories

It’s almost spring and a young museum’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love. No matter how you feel about Valentine’s Day, we think you’ll like how we’ve interpreted the themes of love and lust through the lens of modern art, mythology and early photography, among others. We don’t really need an excuse to share… Read more »

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January 2019

Inside the Issanama

In December 2018, the curtains went up on a very special show that lies at the intersection of art and history, and offers lush evidence of the plurality and syncretism inherent in Indian culture. Issanama or the Christ Commission is a unique collaboration between an artist steeped in ancient art practices and a patron alive… Read more »

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December 2018

The Chettinad Affair

In the second edition of Sarmaya’s Art of Travel, we assembled once more as a band of travellers ready for our next adventure, amid the 75-odd villages that form the region of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu. Join us as we revisit this journey and recapture the memories of a lifetime.

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