Two exhibitions at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai are showing never-seen-before facets of the bustling urban cultures of colonial India.


 Curated by Omar Khan and Rahaan Allana, Paper Jewels: Postcards from the Raj is on view at the Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibition Gallery at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum from 19th August to the 1st of October. The exhibition discusses in detail about the rise of the picture postcard in the 1890s and how they revolutionised the speed of communication between families, friends and businesses across the globe. The story of the postcard is an international one – a photograph would be sent to Dresden by a certain publisher and a postcard would be created by a printer and shipped to Jaipur where it would find itself in one of the numerous stalls outside Hawa Mahal. A tourist would buy it, perhaps, and mail it to Paris. As with most works of art, the postcard was also heavily influenced by the changing facets of urban India, popular culture and the rise of nationalism.


Curated by Himanshu Kadam and Tasneem Mehta, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad museum presents MV Dhurandhar: The Artist as Chronicler, 1867-1944 which will be on display from 19th August to the 1st of October. As much as we owe the changes and developments that took place in colonial India to the movers and shakers of that time, we equally owe it to certain individuals for their astute documentation of that era. Mahadev Vishwanath Dhurandhar was one such individual. Using his own expressive methods, Dhurandhar presented a humanist and humorous documentation of life in India – today, his paintings aren’t just appreciated by intellectuals for their contribution to scientific study but also for the life-like quality that draws the viewer into the bustling Marathi and Parsi culture of those days.