Indian artist’s painting displayed in London museum

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New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) A painting by an Indian artist, depicting an elderly woman threading a needle, has been included in the collection of Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the artist’s spouse said on Wednesday.

“Painting by my wife Archana Shastri is found by my son Chetan Shastri in the collection of Victoria & Albert Museum,” Shastri Ramachandaran, a former senior editor of The Times of India and The Tribune, told IANS.

He said it was only recently that they have included this painting in their online catalogue.

Delhi-based Archana, who was a British Council scholar in the Royal College of Art, London, is a recognised and practising artist. Her works are in many collections in India and abroad.

“We did not know that one of her works — from a private collection — had made it to the V&A. My son found it mentioned in the V&A catalogue in the course of his visit to the museum,” he said.

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Delineated in ink, the minutely drawn painting was made in 1989, says Victoria and Albert Museum.

It depicts an elderly-looking lady inserting a thread through a smallish needle. On the left, a girl is kneeling on the floor.

This oneiric and somewhat eerie scene takes place in a semi-rural setting, says the museum.

V&A’s permanent gallery displays only about 500 Indian works of art out of its object collection of 60,000 items of Indian art. The V&A has a total of over four million objects, most of which is in storage.

Artists say a museum like V&A doesn’t “buy” but “acquires” a work of art.

“It’s often done after much research, deliberation, review and inputs from aficionados, the credentials of the artist, unimpeachable originality of content and concept and the provenance of the work,” said an artist.

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V&A is considered by many to be the world’s greatest museum of art and design. It has the largest collection of Indian material culture outside of the Indian subcontinent.

The origin of the Indian collections at the V&A is older than the origin of the rest of the collections.

Archana has served as professor in the National Institute of Fashion Technology, NCERT and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi, besides a stint as professor and principal of the Government College of Art in Chandigarh.

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