New museum attracts culture enthusiasts

A long patient wait finally bore fruit as the doors of the Lucknow Bioscope museum were thrown open in the presence of distinguished guests. The launch of the museum was done by Noor Khan( trustee and curator at Lucknow Bioscope and Saman Habib (trustee and curator at Lucknow Bioscope)  in presence of Madhavi Kuckreja (founder of Sanatkada) and advisors Vandana Sehgal and Jayant Krishna. Joining in  through Zoom were advisors Paola Manfredi and Madhuvanti Ghose and Sarovar Zaidi.

Lucknow Bioscope – A City Museum of Culture launched its dynamic physical gallery space on 31st May,2024.The  gallery is dedicated to exploring, preserving, and celebrating Lucknow’s rich cultural legacy. A permanent space that provides an avenue for diverse interpretations within the realm of arts and culture.Apart from showcasing the myriad researches done by Lucknow Bioscope, the gallery will be open to independent artists from time to time.

About Lucknow Bioscope- A City Museum of Culture

The museum is proposed as a dynamic space to draw together the tangible and intangible treasures of Lucknow. It plans to celebrate the syncretic spirit of Lakhnaviyat,* its people, lifestyles, communities, art, music, architecture, literature, and cuisine in profound new ways. Lucknow Bioscope will encompass partnerships that safeguard and showcase the material, memory and meaning of our inheritance to conserve, educate and entertain the public .

The Museum is located within the heart of the city, in a 1950s bungalow.The vision of the museum is to explore, preserve and promote Lucknow’s  syncretic heritage and its artistic, cultural and historical significance. Also, to Institutionalize a first-of-its-kind permanent museum which is devoted to the spirit of Lucknow, open to the public, to rediscover, and also discover yet to be uncovered treasures of the city.

Inaugural exhibitions

The inauguration of the physical gallery is marked by two exhibitions, the first- “Costumes and Craft”-  Keepers of family history and traditions over generations have shared their lovingly preserved treasures with us. Some costumes are more than a hundred years old, the base cloth now fragile but the colours and embellishments just as vibrant and enchanting as if they were made today. The Lucknow craftsperson’s skill, patience and eye for detail is evident, as is the mastery of its tailors and the artistry of its women who set the colour pallette for the costumes they made or commissioned.

In preserving these cultural artifacts, the exhibitions honor the legacy of Lucknow’s artisans and the aesthetic sensibilities of its people. Each piece tells a story of the city’s past, its evolving fashion, and the continuity of its artistic traditions. We invite you to experience the joy we felt as we traced, admired, and recorded this collection.

The second, “Lucknow Home Chef’s Serve a Lunch”, This exhibition is an ode to Lucknow’s rich culinary traditions, bringing to the world the cherished recipes and stories of the city’s home chefs. The exhibition not only showcases the rich flavors of traditional Lucknawi cuisine but also explores the personal stories of the home chefs and the significance behind each dish. Each chef brings to the table a family memory shared through  a favourite recipe, thereby keeping it alive and within reach of a global audience. By exploring the kitchens and lives of these chefs, we gain a deeper appreciation of the culinary craftsmanship and legacy of Lucknow’s home-cooked meals.

The other exhibitions on view at the Lucknow Bioscope Museum are Ram Advani Book Corner, Bawarchi Khane Gallery Exhibit, ‘Bamboo Odyssey’ by Tauheed Haider,’ Ishq ke Rang Hazaar’ by  Ayan Bose, ‘Taak’ by Tasveer Hasan,’Ibaadat’ by Taijasi Mishra, and Madhubani Wall Painting.

Schedule of 1st and 2nd June

1st June- Fundraising Preview Night

6:00 pm – Mehfil e Tarannum by Askari Naqvi

7:00 pm- Gallery Walkthrough by Noor Khan and Saman Habib

8:00 pm – Lucknow Bawarchi Khane (Dinner)

2nd June

3:00 pm – Bazm e Hunar by Munnawar

5:00 pm -Filmistaan (Costumes and Crafts)- Film screening and discussion

6:00 pm – ‘Searching traces of Lucknow in the memory of people and archives’ A conversation with Dr. Veena Talwar Oldenburg

7:00 pm – Costume and Crafts Gallery Walkthrouh with Noor Khan and Saman Habib

To make these physical exhibits available to a wider audience, Lucknow Bioscope has partnered with Google Arts and Culture.The online exhibits will provide a virtual experience of our collection.

The Museum also offers membership where the community of cultural enthusiasts can enjoy exclusive benefits and support our mission to preserve and celebrate the heritage of Lucknow.

The Museum will continue to host events as part of the informal learning experience where the visitors can witness both the tangible as well as the intangible heritage.The events are

Nayaab Nageene,Addebaazi at Sanatkada,Adda Concert,Workshop/Demonstration,Walks & Tours, Film Screening,Book launches.

From 3rd June, 2024 the ticket price to the museum will be  Rs. 100.

Flow of events on the Launch Day:

The introduction and the idea of Lucknow Bioscope- A City Museum of Culture was presented by Saman Habib and Noor Khan.

Saman Habib is a scientist at the CSIR- Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow where she works on parasitic diseases. She is the curator for the exhibition. She is a core team member of Lucknow Bioscope.

 Saman Habib said: “Lucknow Bioscope, as a city museum of culture, has been an idea in the making for some years now. It seeks to explore, understand, preserve, celebrate and present to a wide audience the many cultural facets of our city.”

“Sanatkada’s own experience through the annual theme-based Mahindra Sanatkada Lucknow festival has shown that the Lucknow wala/wali is eager for a welcoming space that offers an experience of Lucknow’s art, crafts, music, dance, communities, literature and cuisine. None of these have been static, and our endeavour will be to cover many dimensions in each of the themes selected for our exhibition space and for our collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.”

“Lucknow Bioscope aims at being a people’s museum. We have been gratified by the response from many of you who grace the launch function today!”

Noor Khan is an educationist.  She has been part of Sanatkada since its inception in 2006 and subsequently became a core team member of the organization.  For the past couple of years, she has been a team member of Lucknow Bioscope : A City Museum of Culture and is proud to say that the city has its own museum now, a joint venture between its citizens and the Bioscope team, a museum that is probably one of its kind in the country.

 Noor Khan said “Dear Lucknowwallahs, your stories are our stories. We are here because you are here with us. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and your time. Lucknow Bioscope engages with the city and looks forward to future collaborations with you to take our project forward.”

This was followed by the projection of the Online Exhibit on Google Arts and Culture.The collection of Lucknow bioscope is in three languages on Google arts and Culture, being presented in English, Hindi and Urdu so that language is no more a barrier for accessing and appreciating its content.

The event was attended by the advisors from across the globe through Zoom  Madhuvanti Ghose and Paula Manfredi being some of them, who spoke in appreciation of the museum.

Paola Manfredi is an Independent Researcher and designer.Her most notable for her work on chikankari. Her book “Chikankari: A Lucknawi Tradtion” brings to the people the intricate craft.

Paola Manfredi said “Chikankari is legendary and iconic for its exceptional quality and aesthetics, comparable to the finest textile traditions in India and abroad. Unfortunately to find such excellence today is extremely rare.”

“The absence of visual references of the finest Chikankari examples for both the public and artisans has endangered its production.Lucknow Bioscope and the publication of chikankari heritage, among others, on Google Arts and Culture are filling an unforgivable gap and have an essential role to play in helping to discern and to value the excellence not only of Chikankari tradition but also of all the other crafts of Lucknow.”

Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose is the inaugural Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art, Arts of Asia.

Contributors were also present there who loaned some of their pieces for the exhibit-Tazeen Hussain and Ragini Mishra

Home Chefs, Rashmi Vaid and Farzana Shahabuddin of whose stories Lucknow Bioscope has documented were also present at the event.

 Noor Khan, said  “For the exhibition,  we have selected pieces that have been well preserved by their owners and which are approximately 50 to 100 years old. We have ensured that the pieces are adequately representative  of being from Lucknow in terms of the cuts of the garment and the craft work that they reflect eg chikankari, tukdi, aari zardozi etc.”

“This exhibition will revive old memories for many. It will create an awareness of the garments and the craft work they reflect, that are preserved in Lucknow homes. We know that Lucknowwallahs have a lot more to share and we hope that this exhibition will inspire others to come forward and share their treasured garments with us.”


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