Rakhi Sarkar, chairperson, FICCI Committee of Art and Business of Art and Managing Trustee KMOMA, said the museum will be a tripartite venture among the state, the Centre and a private company.
“A few years ago, there was an exhibition of Picasso at several venues in the country but it bypassed Kolkata because the city did not have the infrastructure to hold a show of that magnitude. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was unhappy at it and that’s when the plan came up,” said Sarkar, at an international symposium on Museums of the Future.
Nearly Rs 300 crore of the Rs 500-crore project will be spent on building the museum with four separate wings. The national gallery will focus on Indian visual art from 19th century to the present times. The Western gallery will focus on art from the West and the Middle-east and the Far-Eastern gallery on art from SAARC countries and China, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The last wing will have an academic section for conducting courses on museology, art history, art management and restoration.
Herzog & de Meuron, an international architectural firm best-known for designing the Tate Modern, the National Stadium Beijing and the main stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games, has been commissioned for the project. “India does not have a museum, which can meet global standards. There are some good places in Delhi and Mumbai but there is a need for state-of-the-art museum in the country,” said Sarkar.
The state government has approved Rs 138 crore and sanctioned 10 acres for the project at Rajarhat. The Centre is also expected to provide the same amount of money. The work, expected to begin in 2010, will be over by 2013.
The KMOMA has lined up its board of trustees including representatives of the state and Centre and artists like Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Choudhury and Subodh Gupta.
“We hope this will provide a platform for local and international artists,” said Sarkar.