I started writing this as a description of the Bangalore Modern Art Museum, formerly a colonist’s demeure, a massive, white, decrepit mansion with columns and verandahs, in retreat from the loud, chaotic city on tranquil and wooded grounds, now repurposed to house a mouldering collection of Indian art. The diverse collection, often poorly conserved, was an introduction to the imagination of a heterogeneous country.
After the museum, we had tea at Prakash’s house, where we sat eating his leftover birthday cake by candlelight (power outages are frequent here.) Later, we struggled, squinting in the dark at his paintings trying to appreciate the details. In the daylight, we saw his small garden in the back of the house, painted in a palette inspired by Kahlo with a small pond with lilies and on the wall below, original, rotating artwork painted by Prakash, his wife and son. Unexpected in flashy Bangalore where pubs outnumber cultural institutions and where everyone wears a badge on a lanyard for their respective tech company.