Permanent Exhibition at RBU on ‘Rabindranath Tagore in Italy’

Kolkata, 13th December, 2023:The Permanent Exhibition of ‘Rabindranath Tagore in Italy’ was inaugurated on 11th December 2023 at the Rabindra Bharati Museum in Jorasanko. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Consul General of Italy in KolkataGianlucaRubagotti and the Vice Chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University, Mr Subhro Kamal Mukherjee.

The permanent gallery at Rabindra Bharati Museum, Jorasanko, is designed as an experiential journey exploring Tagore’s time in Italy and the ongoing bond ever since between Italy and his legacy at RBU and VBU.

The primary objective of the gallery is to celebrate the connection between Tagore and Italy. The journey and events surrounding Tagore’s three visits to Italy are highlighted. A comprehensive glimpse into the places and the time through visuals and quotes traces the link between Italian scholars and artists with the Tagore Family/RBU/VishwaBharati University.

Ambassador of Italy H. E. Vincenzo De Luca stated: “Tagore is one of the most loved non-Italian poets in my Country. He started becoming famous when, after he was awarded the Nobel Prize, his works started being available on the shelves of bookstores throughout Italy …. Italian readers even today love his way of depicting nature and its relation with men, as well as the spirit of universalism transpiring through his poems. We thought it was important to create a space, inside his house-museum, which could help the viewers not only discover what the great poet did in Italy but also understand the links and interactions that were created between our two cultures.”

A team was organised to prepare the content and the display of the Gallery, in collaboration with Rabindra Bharati University, under the guidance of Dr Baisakhi Mitra. Prof. Mario Prayer from La Sapienza University of Rome was in charge of the scientific research and content curation.

The Consul General of Italy to Kolkata, GianlucaRubagotti, visited the museum in Shantiniketan, to collect pictures of the great poet during his stays in the different Italian cities; and Sonia Guha curated the exhibition design and planning, with an innovative way of displaying the various materials.

The four walls of the room have a dedicated narrative. Vistors would get to witness ‘Tagore Speaks’, – his quotes which allow one to see Italy through his eyes. To the right of it is ‘Italy Speaks’ which has selected publications showcasing the popularity of Tagore in Italy.His poem dedicated to Italy and Formichi’s translation of it is framed in dual motifs, a pattern from Shantiniketan leather craft and a Tulip relief border pattern from Italian architecture.

The final wall talks about the World of Creatives who inspired or drew inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore.

Keeping the Heritage status and age of the building in mind. Only minimal intervention with appropriate materials and methods of execution is used. The visual identity of the original heritage structure is as much as possible maintained keeping with Italy’s long-standing commitment to the Conservation of built and cultural heritage.

Mr Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, Vice Chancellor of RBU said, “It is an honour to have collaborated with the Italian Government on this project. We believe that this gallery will give a lot of insight to Tagore’s work during his visits to Italy.”

The inauguration was enhanced by the dance performance of Ileana Citaristi, the first dancer of foreign origin to be conferred the Padma Shri, and an Italian Odissi and Chhau dancer.