The Krishnakriti Art and Culture Festival has made it possible for local viewers to experience the myriad perceptions of space, social interactions, transformations and discoveries across the Indian subcontinent from the 15th to the early 20th century. The show, Space-Time and Place, at the State Art Gallery and curated by Vivek Nanda and Alexander Johnson, brings forth the cosmological as well as cartographic traditions that have existed in India at different time periods.
The collection proudly contains different kinds of maps, covering all major Indian cities, states and regions. The span of the show spreads wide, starting from imagery purely based on imagination and gradually becoming more scientific, descriptive and precise. While some maps manifest the traditional Indian notions about reality, the surroundings and cosmology, others have been planned according to western mapping standards.
The early hand-painted and pilgrimage maps contain imagery with a connection to traditional Indian painting styles. One such remarkable map is the Map of the Ganges, a pilgrimage map of river Alaknanda, depicting the shrine at Badrinath painted by a Rajasthani artist during the early 18th century. The terrain is described in a lyrical manner with a mention of the winding course of the river, spanned on either side by fields, vegetation, architectural structures and figures.
“My passion for collecting maps has helped me see the world in a different light. In the 15th year of the Krishnakriti Festival, I am glad to open up my world of maps and cartography to the illustrious public of Hyderabad who love their city and its heritage,” says Prshant Lahoti, Managing Trustee of the Krishnakriti Art and Culture Festival .
The second day of the show was a remarkable, path breaking occasion for all Hyderabadis as the 638 Leonard Munn maps of Hyderabad Survey from the collection of Prshant Lahoti and Karen Leonard got launched on Google Art Project and became live and accessible to everyone around the world.
After the floods of 1908, the Nizam commissioned a mapping project to avoid such disasters in the future. The project was accomplished under the supervision of Leonard Munn (1878-1935), an engineer, who was the chief inspector of the mines under the Nizam’s regime. Munn was assisted by A.F. Chinoy and A.T. Mackenzie from the P.W.D.