Let us observe this image.

What do you see?

I can tell you what I see.

I see a window. I see a chair.

I see white curtains and sunlight.

I see paintings on walls.

A carpet, a lamp.


I see a room, with an open door.

I do not see an art movement, and it is alright.

I do not understand the intricacies of the strokes, and that is absolutely fine!

But I know, that I can stay with this painting longer, I shall engage with this painting further, until I see poetry.

I see an empty chair…

A Visit to theMuseum by Edgar Degas (Public Domain)

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of these Dating Apps!

It is an endless visit, it causes fatigue.

It reminds me of what many visitors experience in a museum. For those who are new to these concepts, here is what Wikipedia informs about Museum Fatigue: “Museum fatigue is a state of physical or mental fatigue caused by the experience of exhibits in museums and similar cultural institutions. The collection of phenomena that characterize museum fatigue was first described in 1916,[1] and has since received widespread attention in popular and scientific contexts”

I learnt yesterday that there…

Losing a Home: National Museum in Delhi

Image: https://scroll.in/article/995140/moving-the-national-museum-why-the-opacity-about-the-relocation-plans-should-worry-us-all

Ever since the news of National Museum’s relocation, I have been asked by friends and acquaintances about my opinion on this move. Not that I am an authority on the same, perhaps my profession creates the impression that my opinion must be heard. While opinions of cultural professionals definitely matter, particularly the stalwarts who have been voicing their concerns, I wish to share today about how I feel, not necessarily a critical reflection on the move.

What do I feel at the thought of losing the National Museum?

I’ll have to…

The world is witnessing the devastating catastrophic second wave of Coronavirus in India. Almost every family has been impacted, people are suffering, losing their lives or those of loved ones. Healthcare infrastructure is crumbling and there is an atmosphere of absolute despair.

As my own father and brother face this dreaded illness, I feel inadequate. I wonder what use is my work in museums in this moment. I wonder if the persistent faith with which I have been zealously advocating for museums and well-being, museums and communities, museums and hope, is it redundant in this moment? Perhaps not, I do…

A visit to the hospital always makes place for some learning and reflection.

Today I went for my follow-up scan with my dearest friend. We coordinated and reached from different parts of the city. To ensure that I wasn’t alone. Despite her multiple commitments, she came. Not everyone has the good fortune of such company and care, I do, and I am hence utilizing this privilege to reflect on caregiving and care-receiving at large, because I feel it is deeply associated with the intent behind Museums Of Hope.

Nowhere else have I ever felt such strong resentment and questioning of…

This one is an ode to the memory keepers. The wandering bards, the many painters. The singers, the writers, the sculptors, the builders. It is an ode to the heirloom keepers, the photographers, the album makers. The historians, the archivists, the librarians. The weavers, the puppeteers, the dancers, performers performing memories. Memories of a mind, memories of a culture, memories of a species. This is thus an ode also to the scientists, the journalists, the filmmakers. Most of all, this is an ode to the body, the transient and powerful memory keeper. Bodies of all species. Memories of a lifetime…

Art: Untitled by B. Prabha

As part of the Museum Dialogues series I invited Ms. Isha Yadav, founder & curator Museum of Rape Threats and Sexism for a session last Saturday.

Isha, who identifies herself as foremost a feminist, scholar, educator and visual artist, has been working on this project as part of her PhD thesis and her politics. The project which started with collecting snapshots of digital abuse in the form of threats and sexism, she soon realized that it was so rampant and widespread that it should be highlighted and made visible through a space as a museum…

In the landscape of memories

In my landscape of memories there is a blurring of boundaries. It is a topography as no other, for it is hard to tell where the river ends and grows into a mountain, or when the soil changes into a galaxy of stars. It is endless, it is continuous, it is an ocean, it is a forest.

In this space, are people, some real, some real-like. Very often you would meet a person as they were and also the same person, but as I had imagined them to be, or what I had wished for…

My Museum Of Memories

Written by Poornima Sardana for Memory Museum 2020 (Ongoing and Organized by the Synonyms in Seoul) And for her dearest father.

In my museum of memories is a sketch of a tree, being drawn by my father, sitting by the window, soaking in the winter sun. We call this pleasant sunshine Dhoop. And Dhoop is what we also call the first gallery of my museum, I hope its warmth embraces you. To be held by the winter sun, is to be held by the loving gaze of a caring elderly being. …

In the chaos of the pandemic, as we try to define our institutions and what they stand for, I also hope, and wish, that we are as much observers as we attempt at facilitating change.

While we are concerned about not having a universal definition of a museum, we might also want to think as to why it troubles us so much.

Can there even be a single definition for institutions and spaces across the diversity of this world?

And is there a need to escalate the process?

Could it not happen in its own time?

Maybe we need to…

Poornima Sardana

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