Gurugrammers come together for their camera museum
“How would it feel to have your name in the wall of honour at Gurugram’s Museo Camera?” asks Aditya Arya, photographer and visual historian. Crowdfunding for Museo Camera: A Centre for the Photographic Arts, Arya is inviting people to come on board as founding members of the museum, which is being established in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon in Gurgaon.
The donations range from student contributor (₹1,000 and above), supporter (₹2,000 and above), and so forth. Those contributing over ₹5,000 will get their name immortalised in the museum.
The upcoming museum has grown out of Arya’s personal collection that was earlier displayed in a basement in Gurugram. Over 2,000 antique cameras and other allied gadgets dating back to the 19th century, collected from over 100 countries, will be on display as part of the museum, along with historical archives, works of legends as well as contemporary lens-based art. “We proudly talk about Gurgaon as a Millennium City. [But] do we have a museum or a cultural space here? Ek tha. (Epicentre shut in December 2016) Where do people go now? To pubs and malls where one evening can cost you a few thousand rupees. Why not create a place that has more meaning?” he says.
Pointing out the overwhelming response, Arya says, “People really liked the idea. In [a span of] three weeks, we have already covered 10% of the amount (₹1.5 crore).” He has received not just monetary but voluntary support from students, residents, and photographers to even film personalities such as actors Neena Gupta and Anupam Kher.
“Gurugram has a lot of a cultural things, but this is unique,” says actor Neena Gupta, who has worked with Aditya in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and is wholeheartedly supporting the museum. “I don’t think India mein kahin bhi aisa kuch hai (I don’t think India has anything like this). It’s for a good cause and for the keeps. He told me [about the museum] and I said ‘Ok, whatever I can do, I will do it’. I have noticed that a lot of youngsters are heavily into photography [these days].”
Gurugram-based photographer Dinesh Khanna says, “Museo Camera is one photographer’s dream, but it will be a paradise for photography enthusiast for generations to come. If photography plays even a small part in your life, then you must reach out and contribute to photography history being created in India.”
Besides housing a unique collection of vintage cameras and photographic equipment, the museum will also have gallery spaces for events, teaching facilities, studios for workshops, seminar rooms, a multimedia resource centre, and a library. There will also be a Museo cafe and a shop, which will retail, among other things, rare photographic memorabilia.
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