As part of its rich 2022 – 2023 cultural season, Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced its upcoming exhibition, Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story Of Indian Cinema, opening on 24th January and concluding on 4th June 2023.
Organised in partnership with Musée Du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and France Museum, the exhibition will showcase the depth and richness of the Indian subcontinent’s art and civilisation through its long tradition of image-making and the diversity of the Indian filmmaking industry.
Through more than 80 artworks, including photographs, textiles, graphic arts, costumes and over 30 film extracts, the exhibition explores the rich history of Indian cinema from its beginnings in the late 19th Century up to the present. The artworks come from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée Du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Musée De L’Armee, Musée National Des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet, Al-Sabah Collection, Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation and Priya Paul Collection.
The exhibition is co-curated by Julien Rousseau, Curator and Head of the Asian Collection, Musée Du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, and Helene Kessous, PhD in Social Anthropology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, with the support of Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
As the world’s leading film producer, India currently produces more than 1,500 films a year in nearly 20 languages, which are then exported throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Through Bollywood Superstars, museumgoers will discover how Indian pioneers utilised nascent image technologies such as lithography and photography, kickstarting the journey from the birth of the first films to grand musical features. Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the international success of Bollywood and an appreciation of the diversity of Indian cinematography. The comprehensive displays span the history of Indian cinema from storytelling, dance, and pre-cinema to the influence of religion and mythology and the rise of Bollywood superstars.
Manuel Rebate, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, commented, ”In a museum that invites visitors to discover artworks from all over the world, we are privileged to work again with Musée Du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac on this exhibition. It explores image in movement after our first collaboration in 2019 on an exhibition about the development of photography in its first years of experience. Bollywood Superstars is a feast not only to Indian audiences who are among the most important nationalities that visit Louvre Abu Dhabi but also to Indian audiences who are among the most important nationalities that visit Louvre Abu Dhabi but also to everyone with an appetite for the rich culture of the sub-continent and its roots”.
Emmanuel Kasarherou, President of the Musée Du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, said, ”Bollywood Superstars stands out for the quality and originality of its content. It is bound to appeal to visitors at Louvre Abu Dhabi, collection, such as a Page from a Harivamsa Series: Krishna and His Courtiers by the Sea at Pandaraka (ca. 1820, Kangra, India); Mail and Plate Armour, Called ”Four Mirrors” Armour (ca 1600-1800, Mughal, India); and Krishna Surrounded by Gopis ) (ca. 1655, Rajasthan, India). Highlight loans from partner museums include a statuette of Krishna as a child playing in the flute (second half of the 19th Century, Rajasthan, India) from Musée Du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac; a Dagger (late 17th Century, Kuwait), from Al-Sabah Collection; Indian Armour (18th Century) from Musée de l’armee; and a Coat (19th Century) from Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet. Cinema buffs will especially enjoy the screening of several iconic film extracts that have left an indelible make on the history of Indian cinema.
The exhibition’s curators, Julien Rousseau and Helene Kessous, said, ”This exhibition is a tribute to Bollywood and can be enjoyed by Indian cinema fans and the wider public. We hope that it portrays the full richness of Asian traditions and tells the stories that led to the birth of this cinema. The exhibition celebrates Bollywood superstars adored by their fans in India in a way is rarely seen elsewhere in the world”.
Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi, said, ”This exhibition provides a unique perspective into the richness of forms that pervaded its creation. The cross-influences, boosted by technological progress, underline the continued presence of the great mythological and literary narratives in Indian culture, and the vitality of its regional cultures. We are delighted to bring this exhibition to life to showcase the diversity of Indian cinema”.
Bollywood Superstars is supported by PureHealth, as Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition season partner. Details of the rich cultural and educational programme accompanying Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story Of Indian Cinema will be announced later. For more information about the exhibition and to book tickets, please visit louvreabudhabi.ae.
Entrance to the exhibition is free with the museum’s general admission tickets. Admission to the museum is free for children under the age of 18.