Under Construction Calicut House | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Grounds packed with school children, tourists flocking to admire artisans’ demonstrations, galleries filled with artefacts from across the country – all these living museums are familiar scenes from DakshinaChitra, which has since become a constant on Chennai’s cultural map Has happened. It was established in December 1996. But the pandemic certainly forced the museum to pause its trajectory and plans for the third decade of the millennium.
Coorg style house at its original location. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Dakshinachitra director Sharath Nambiar is happy that the grounds are now slowly coming back to life. “For the first time since 2020, we have surpassed pre-pandemic numbers in terms of visitors and footfall. Schools and colleges have resumed field trips and our expanse of over 10 acres is now full of energy and activity. We also have 22 artist stalls with live performances and are looking to add more to the roster,” he says.
A hot performance Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
The museum had envisioned a garden show in 2020, but that did not come to fruition. “We have planned a grand showcase in January 2023, with a flower show, workshops and awards for the city’s best home gardens, bonsai, terrace and vegetable gardens, as well as ikebana and other techniques. There should be a garden show like Ooty and Bangalore in Chennai.
Craft Bazaar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
There is a lot happening here. Over the past few weekends, music ensembles have performed at several venues in the museum, including Juniors of the Sunshine Orchestra, supported by the AR Rahman Foundation and the KM Music Conservatory, and Follow the Sound by the Madras Commune, which enthralled audiences. was really drawn to music. various places. Art galleries focus on Tamil heritage through November.
But one project that has the museum buzzing with activity and anticipation is the construction of Calicut House. “We started this project in March 2020, but were then forced to stop, as the movement of man and material was difficult during the pandemic. We resumed construction this April, hoping to open its doors during the summer of 2023. The house belonged to a Muslim family in Calicut, and we had a team of 12 carpenters from Kerala, who worked meticulously to make the house exactly as it was. We envision an exhibition around sustainability using this Calicut house,” says Nambiar. Using the rear façade to install solar panels, rainwater harvesting equipment, water conservation and composting in the adjacent compound area. The plan is to use the technology of making, “to sensitize our millennial audience towards the eco-conscious processes that were a part of our heritage. different forms over the decades. We worked with Benny Kuriakose and his team of architects as well as a team from Auroville to set it up.”
While the Calicut House is all set for the public, the Kodava House or Coorg House will be the latest addition to the living heritage space, “to focus on the Kodava community that came into focus with the book, the vanishing codwas by Kaveri Ponnappa, and the project will be bolstered by the presence of Sanduka – The Living Museum of Kodava Culture , An interactive virtual museum is also expected to be formally launched in 2023,” says Nambiar. Kodava House will showcase the way of life of the community living in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. He has a deep connection with the land. The house to be constructed has been identified. “We have to carefully document the structure, then the parts are numbered, photographed, we have drawings to scale, then the house is built individually using teams from the field who understand the materials and techniques. Then we slowly start the process of moving the parts to be added to the museum in exactly the same way. The process starts in early 2023 and will take about 16 months to complete,” Nambiar concludes, as the museum prepares itself for a busy Margazzi season filled with performances, as well as a December anniversary celebration with spirited folk performances and a unique exhibition showcasing. Arunachal Pradesh State.