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New gallery for museum

Officials release two books at the event in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by Ali Fauz Hassan

Guwahati: The Assam State Museum here will be developed into a world-class one and will also host a South East Asian gallery, the museum's authorities announced on its 79th Foundation Day on Saturday. It was also the 26th Foundation Day of the Indian Art History Congress, the only national arts organisation with headquarters in Guwahati.

Acquiring new collections for the Northeast and ethnography gallery was also announced at a function held at the Kanaklal Barua auditorium of the museum.

Museum director Y.S. Wunglengton said, "A gallery on South East Asia will be set up shortly. There is cultural and linguistic similarities between the Northeast and the Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia and Myanmar."

He said objects having cultural affinity to the region would be collected for display in the museum.

"This is also in line with the Centre's Act East policy. The process to acquire two stone sculptures from Cambodia has already started. It is a lengthy process as international laws have to be followed. The project is being funded by the Assam State Museum Management Society," he added.

The executive director of Bangalore-based India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), Arundhati Ghosh, delivered a talk on Gaps, Erasures, Silences - The Art That Provokes History, while Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra Society vice-chairman Surya Hazarika presented a picture of the publishing industry in 19th Century Assam in his lecture in the afternoon.

The IFA, in collaboration with the state museum, organised an exhibition of three projects - Brahmanising the Brahmaputra: The Divine Feminine in Pre-Ahom Assam by Shubhasree Purkayastha, Interpreting Space: Naga Realm by Sayantan Maitra Boka and Museums are Closed at Night by Desire Machine Collective.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Ghosh and other dignitaries at the function.

Cultural and tourism additional chief secretary V.B. Pyarelal and cultural affairs commissioner and secretary Pritam Saikia also spoke on the occasion.

Saikia said efforts were being made to develop the museum into a world-class institution, along the lines of the Louvre in Paris, not in terms of space but in terms of collection.

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