Come 2020, Kasturba Road will be home to the Museum of Art and Photography, a state-of-the-art cultural hub. ... Spread out over 3,000 sqm, complete with a research library with an extensive collection of books on textile and art history, a cafe, a restoration lab, five galleries, a classroom and multimedia centre and a rooftop sculpture garden that looks out onto Cubbon Park, this is Poddar's attempt at making art and culture a part of the city's architecture - a claim he dismisses with unerring modesty. "It's a tall order," he smiled. "I would say it's what we're trying to do, however!" A committee, headed by Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard University and Mahrukh Tarapore will oversee the design, which is being drawn up by award-winning architect Soumitro Ghosh. “It all makes a difference, from the way an object is lit to the medium in which it is explained. How do you create a space that appeals to an involved audience, a disinterested visitor and a schoolkid? The same pieces might not appeal to them but everybody’s going to leave here with something meaningful.”
"How would you show a friend around Bengaluru? Where would you take them?" he asks, deflecting the first question back on to the rest of us, who duly faltered, emphasising his point - Bengaluru lacks cultural spaces. "Why is there a need for a space like MAP? It's a question I don't want to answer, it's so depressing. If you want to give a friend a cultural day, what choices do you have? The answer stares you in the face! We need 10 MAPs here, not one."
The collections, he says, will be diverse, put together by guest curators. "It could be contemporary, classical, folk or tribal. At the end of the day, we want visitors to go back feeling enriched and inspired. It's not the same as flipping through a book. We want art to be much higher on everybody's list. This is something other people have tried, but those have become sporadic bursts in an otherwise unstructured atmosphere" Should the government do more? “That’s what we’d like to think, but it’s not always possible to achieve or fair for us to expect." The museum will manage a collection of over 15,000 artworks that include Indian art, textiles, photography, craft and design. Exhibitions that bring in artefacts from museums across India and the world are an important part of the MAP agenda too. "That's why the place is called MAP," he smiled.