Abanindranath Tagore Garden House in Konnagar: A Virtual Museum
The Abanindranath Tagore Garden House in Konnagar, near Kolkata, is a typical 19th century Bengali riverside garden house (bagan-bari) overlooking the Hooghly River. The heritage site is linked to the internationally renowned artist Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951), who spent formative time as a child at the Konnagar Garden House in the late-1870s, which he affectionately records in his memoir, Jorasankor Dhare (1944). His childhood memories there had a formative influence on his later art and writings.
This virtual exhibition, hosted in Abanindranath Tagore Garden House in Konnagar, is a tribute to the internationally renowned painter, Abanindranath Tagore. It is a pilot virtual museum platform consisting of a location-based Augmented Reality (AR) and an online, interactive 3D experience of the museum. ‘Exhibits’ combining bilingual text – English and Bengali – and images – photographic and drawn – provide a contextualised historical and cultural experience.
About the project
This is a pilot project to develop a hybrid digital museum experience, Modernity, Nationhood and the Unconscious: Abanindranath Tagore and the Garden House in Konnagar, for a 19th century heritage site in Konnagar, near Kolkata, India, in collaboration with CAVA and FeedAR, and supported by Konnagar Municipality, the heritage body, INTACH Hooghly Chapter, and the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata.
The site has high architectural and historical value for the country due to the riverine bagan-bari (garden house) located on its centre and surrounded by a beautiful garden. The house belonged to the renowned Indian family of Abanindranath Tagore and played a vital role to the artistic life and expression of the family, including Abanindranath and his nephews Jyotirindranath and Dwijendranath Tagore. The house was one of the many bagan-baris that the Tagores used as resorts and that emerged as socio-cultural hotspots in Bengal of that time.
This project aims to co-create knowledge, build capacity, enhance diffusion networks and raise awareness about Abanindranath Tagore’s contribution to India’s art and culture history, with an ambition to scale up virtual museum experiences for several museums and galleries across India.