Few know that Mumbai's first museum, the Bhau Daji Lad, began life in 1872 as the namesake of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Few know that Mumbai's first museum, the Bhau Daji Lad, began life in 1872 as the namesake of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1975, it was renamed after the prominent physician and social activist who helped found the institution.
To mark this relationship, the two museums have entered into an exhibition-exchange programme.
The first in line is 'Something That I'll Never Really See' , a set of 40 photographs from the V&A's vast collection of photography. The contemporary images are by a mix of well-known artists such as Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin as well as emerging photographers. They also cover a range of photographic styles. British artist Andy Lock photographs abandoned rooms that gleam in an eerie, green light - an effect achieved by projecting images on to phosphorescent surfaces. Neeta Madahar's Sustenance 114 is a hyper-real photograph of birds feeding in her garden. Roger Ballen's work is from the series Outland, which captures the few white folk who live in rural South Africa.
In this mysterious and ambiguous photograph, a cable seems to float on a sheet of paper with a child's doodles.
Bhau Daji Lad Museum's managing director and honorary trustee Tasneem Mehta says she chose this exhibition from a menu of shows offered by the V&A because of the museum's own connection with 19th-century photography. It has a collection of 1,200 glass negatives from the period, in which photography was beginning to emerge as an art form in India. "Just because you have a classical collection, you don't have to be stuck in the past," she says. "You have to make it relevant to the present, create a dialogue between the past and the present ."