£100,000 funding to assist new commissions and exhibitions as part of UK-India year of culture

Manchester City Galleries will receive £100,000 from Arts Council England to develop a series of new commissions, exhibitions and performances by Indian artists, known as Reimagine India.  The work, in partnership with Indian arts organisations will be featured in The Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry as part of the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017.

In 2017, the UK and India will celebrate a major bilateral year of cultural exchange to mark the 70th anniversary of Partition. This award will allow the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and MSI to develop art interventions that address the relationship between Manchester and India through their shared history of empire and industry, through the textile trade, labour history and the industrial revolution.

Reimagine India will explore new cross-cultural dialogues that recognise cultural creativity as an important driver for 21st century globalisation, migration and exchange. Following the ruptures of independence, Manchester saw migration of workers from the sub-continent to work in textiles, such that people of South Asian descent now form 12% of the city’s population. The project will turn to the internationally significant textile collections of the Whitworth, the industrial collections at MSI and the ethnography collections of Manchester Museum for inspiration.

Highlights of Reimagine India will include:

  • A major exhibition by Raqs Media Collective at the Whitworth, with Manchester commissions exploring the history of Suffrage and the birth of the labour movement
  • A newly commissioned performance installation by Nikhil Chopra at the Museum of Science and Industry about the history of industry and the railways in Manchester and India
  • A dedicated show by Neha Choksi at Manchester Art Gallery with existing work and new commissions, to be shown subsequently at Project 88 in Mumbai in 2018
  • A dedicated show by Reena Kallat at Manchester Museum with existing work and new commissions, acting as a trailblazer for the creation of a dedicated South Asia gallery at Manchester Museum
  • A film commission for Manchester Art Gallery by British Asian artist Hetain Patel to tour to the Sunaparanta Centre, Goa

image – Reimagine India: From left: MIF 2013 Nikhil Chopra, Coal on Cotton. Photo Stephen Isles, 2013; MIF 2009 Marina Abramović Presents, Nikhil Chopra. Photo Joel Chester Fildes, 2009