Telling Tales of India

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World Museum opens its gateway to India in new exhibition

World Museum will be bringing a piece of India to Liverpool this month, with the opening of a new exhibition exploring the role of storytelling in Indian art and culture.

Telling Tales, opening 24 May 2013 until 8 Sep 2013 will showcase the work of seven artists, portraying the traditional and contemporary stories of the country in a vibrant and colourful setting.

From large-scale paintings of village life, to terracotta horses, photographs and video material, the exhibition will offer a colourful, exuberant and exciting insight into 21st century India, immersing visitors in the sights and sounds of the country.

The featured works have been commissioned and collected by National Museums Liverpool over the past five years. Also on display will be objects from World Museum’s nationally important India collections bringing to life some of the enduring stories of India.

Featuring several iconic Hindu Gods including Ganesha, the elephant headed God; Krishna, the Hindu God of Love and Devi, the Goddess, the works by contemporary artists will show a broad cross section of mediums including works on canvas and paper alongside impressive sculptures and objects.

Central to the exhibition will be a storytelling tent, so that visitors of all ages can enjoy listening to traditional Indian stories as part of the exhibition’s family-friendly events programme. Teaming up with locally-based Indian arts organisation Milapfest, visitors can expect to experience Indian culture first hand with a packed programme of events and activities led by some of today’s leading Indian artists in dance, music and storytelling workshops for everyone.

Emma Martin, Head of Ethnology and Curator of Asia Collections said: “Indian culture is known for its tradition of storytelling. Many of these tales have been handed down in folklore, but storytelling is still very much thriving today.

“Storytellers continue to find inspiration in many different places, and the artists featured in this exhibition have used their various styles of artwork to tell their audiences of the contemporary stories that affect the lives of 21st century Indian people.”

Artists whose work will be displayed in the exhibition include:

Mantu Chitrakar – Working in the traditional art of Bengali scrolls to tell stories, which are revealed as the scrolls are unrolled for viewing.

Pushpa Kumari – Mithila artist creating beautifully intricate works inspired by contemporary and women’s issues.

Paresh Jayantilal Rathwa – Pithora painter. The origins of this art form are believed to have begun as maps, evolving to become highly ritualised forms of cultural identity and expression.

Sonabai Rajawar – Sculptor who has created colourful bas relief wall friezes to decorate her home after living for many years in isolation.

Kalam Patua – Kalighat painter. Kalighat paintings were originally created as souvenirs for visitors to the huge Kali temple in Calcutta. Kalam carries on this tradition, focusing on the 21st century gender wars of Kolkata.

Teju Ben – Self-trained artist, whose pen and ink style is unique. In a recent series of works she was inspired by Sunita Williams, a Gujarati woman from the USA who became the first woman to go into space.

Nankushiya Shyam – Gond artist, focusing on traditional Gond themes including Gods and Goddesses, animals – both real and imaginary – social issues, and fantasy worlds.

Free events

Most weekends throughout the duration of the exhibition there’ll be free events for families to enjoy. For full listings visit


Nachda Sansaar Bhangra dance workshops

Saturday 25 May

12, 2 & 3.30pm

Explosive energy and Bhangra beats are in store at these fun North Indian dance workshops. 

Swati Raut Classical Bharatanatyam and Folk dancing workshops 

Saturday 25 May

2 & 3.30pm

Learn the key steps of the Classical South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, and dance like the locals in a traditional Folk dance style.

Elena Catalano Odissi Dance Storytelling workshops and performance

Sunday 26 May

12, 1.30 & 3pm 

Communicating stories is core to Indian dance practice; learn the most commonly used gestures in the Classical Odissi form, and watch Elena perform.


Swati Raut Introduction to Bharatanatyam Dance Workshops and performance 

Saturday 1 June - 2 & 3.30pm

Sunday 2 June - 12, 1.30 & 3pm

Bharatanatyam is one of the most widely danced Classical Indian dance forms. Learn the basics, watch a demonstration, and have a go in this introductory workshop.

Nachda Sansaar Bhangra dance Performance

Sunday 9 June    

4 – 4.30pm 

The most popular form of dance in North India, Bhangra is fast, exciting and infectious – Dance along to Nachda Sansaar, one of the UK’s leading Bhangra groups, as they perform at World Museum.

Elena Catalano Odissi Dance Storytelling workshops and performance

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June

12, 2 & 3.30pm

Communicating stories is core to Indian dance practice; learn the most commonly used gestures in Odissi, and watch as Elena performs.

Rishii Chowdury Tabla Lecture Demonstration and workshops

Sunday 23 June

12, 2 & 3.30pm

Tabla is the most common percussion instrument in North Indian Classical music – watch, listen, and have a go in this demonstration and interactive workshop.

Roopa Panesar, Upneet Singh Dhadyalla, Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla performance in the atrium

Saturday 29 June 


A North Indian concert of strings, sitarist Roopa Panesar is joined onstage by Kaviraj Dhadyalla performing on santoor, and Upneet Singh on tabla.


Devika Rao Yakshagana lecture at 12 and storytelling workshops 

Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July

12, 1.30 & 3.30pm

Yakshagana is a colourful and highly stylised theatrical dance form from South India. This lecture and interactive workshop tell the stories of India through hand gestures and facial expressions.

Swati Raut Lecture Demonstration - Introduction to Bharathanatyam dance

Saturday 13 July

2pm - adult demonstration

3:15pm - children’s workshop at 3.15pm

Bharatanatyam is one of the most widely danced Classical Indian dance forms. Learn the basics, watch a demonstration, and have a go in this introductory workshop for children.

Nachda Sansaar Bhangra dance workshops

Saturday 27 July - 12, 2 & 3.30pm

Sunday 28 July – 11, 1 & 2.15pm

Explosive energy and Bhangra beats are in store at these fun North Indian dance workshops! 


Swati Raut talk on Mohiniattam dance

Saturday 24 August

12noon followed by workshops at 1.30 and 3.30pm

Mohiniattam is a graceful dance form from South India, find out what makes it unique and learn the basic steps.

Swati Raut Folk dance workshops

Sunday 25 August

12, 1.30 & 3pm

Learn to dance like the locals in a traditional Indian Folk dance style. 

*Above programme subject to change

Notes to editors

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 3 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool,  World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, UK Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

World Museum

From the sea to the stars, a visit to World Museum reveals millions of years of the Earth’s history through thousands of exhibits and hands on activities. Find out how humans have created the world we inhabit, from Africa to the Americas, Asia and Europe. Look out for the Ancient Egypt gallery where our collection is amongst the finest in Europe, bringing this age old civilisation to life. Discover the wonders of the natural world in the Clore Natural History Centre, packed full of mounted and preserved specimens of all types of animals, as well as rocks, minerals, fossils and plants. The Aquarium is home to fish from Australia to Anglesey, while an array of creepy crawlies live in the Bug House.Then, blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time as the universe unfolds around you in the Planetarium.

World Museum was a winner of Netmums favourite place to go in Merseyside 2011 and was short listed for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award in 2012.