The loveable antics of Mowgli, the magic of the sensual Nagina and all the joys that writer Rudyard Kipling gave the world were born in the old, musty, cobwebbed Dean’s Bungalow on JJ School of Art campus.
Home to Rudyard’s father Lockwood Kipling for 10 years, the two-storey bungalow is ready to be restored and converted into an arts museum.
This would be the much-awaited anniversary gift for the JJ School of Art that turned 150 this year. Lockwood was the first principal of JJ School of Art.
On Thursday, the State Higher and Technical Education Department sanctioned Rs 1.5 crore for infrastructure upgradation in JJ School of Fine Art and the JJ School of Applied Art.
“We will get 100 computers immediately and also set up a photo laboratory,” said N.B. Pasalkar, director, Directorate of Art.
The 17,000-sq ft Dean’s Bungalow and the garden, vacant for seven years — since they do not have a full-time dean — will be revamped, making way for a display of paintings and sculptures by renowned artists.
The state government has given its nod to the project that will be complete in two and half years.
Starting December, the Jindal South West Foundation (JSWF) will pump in Rs 4 crore for restoration of Dean’s Bungalow and Sir JJ School of Art. A public-private partnership, the art museum will be a non-commercial venture with a café and an art gallery.
“We want to make the art museum totally international, better than the Prince of Wales Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art ,” said Sangita Jindal, JSWF chairperson.
“We have talented artists but lack infrastructure. So we decided to create the facility,” she added. The Foundation has asked the government to appoint professionals for the museum’s upkeep.
“We are going to carry out as minimum work as possible. The idea is to give the bungalow a new lease of life. The museum can be an added charm,” said Vikas Dilawari, conservation architect in charge of the project. He also plans to convert the garden into sculpture courts like the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum).
As a part of the project, Conservation Architect Abha Narain Lambah will restore the main building, both interior and exterior, redo the library and a video library. The school’s faculty has also suggested that the Ray Studio that houses departments like ceramic and metals be also restored.
The 140-year-old bungalow will also be home to about 1,000 paintings that were recently found in a damaged state.
“Paintings and sculptures dating 1878 will be pulled out and segregated and those which need either a touch up or complete restoration will be identified,” said Mukund Gorakshkar of JSWF.
In March next year, about 500 paintings and sculptures will be on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art for a month.