It’s exciting to be back at JLF: Museum Director Rima Hooja
Noted archaeologist, historian, and heritage consultant Rima Hooja was recently a part of two sessions at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival
Noted archaeologist, historian, and heritage consultant Rima Hooja was recently a part of two sessions at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival. While the session titled ‘Orchha and the Paintings of Bundelkhand’ focused on the beautiful murals and paintings that come out of that region, the other session revolved around the marvels of the Jaipur Court.
In conversation with Hooja as part of the session on Orchha and Bundelkhand, Narmada Prasad Updhyaya shared some interesting insights into paintings and murals from Bundekhand as well as Orchha based on his extensive research which has given rise to around a dozen books on the Bundekhand work. Talking about her session with Upadhyaya, Hooja asserted, “Literature Festivals are a great way of getting to know about not just about what people are writing about and researching on, it’s also a good way to throw light on lesser known aspects of heritage, fiction, music, etc. Bundelkhand work is not talked about that much with people. The way I look at it each time something is discussed it opens up windows to the past to the younger generations also and it gives insights to the older people also to look at things with a fresh perspective. It’s really a win-win for all. So a session on Bundelkhand and Orchha plays a very important role in filling up that void.”
As the director of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Hooja has brought out several books on some of the art pieces that we have. “Usually a curator or the museum director writes the book but in this case we have got experts to do several of the previous ones along with the museum people. So the idea was that one of the publications we bring out would be the masterpieces. And for this we have got 76 entries written by 48 authors, some of whom are specialists in their respective fields, bringing to light some of the masterpieces and treasures of the Court of Jaipur which has been collected not just from the time Jaipur came into being in 1727 but in some cases before that also,” Hooja revealed.
The subjects are carefully chosen to ensure a balance between popular as well as lesser known works, “We have chosen material that has been written about in other works. We have also chosen lesser known material. Also, we have chosen material where the foreign scholars or scholars from outside of the museum are able to bring in their own perspectives. Some of the pieces are also by current or former curators who have been working with the group, including noted international specialists. So that’s been a mixture of things.”
During the session titled ‘Treasures at the Jaipur Court,’ Vandana Bhandari, in conversation with Hooja, talked about her book on the textiles of the Jaipur court. Giles Tillotson, who has done several publications on Jaipur, has been a Consultant Director looking into research, publications and exhibitions at the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur and so he was able to bring out all those aspects during the conversation.
Hooja, who is also the Managing Trustee of Jaipur Virasat Foundation, also shared her excitement to be back at the Jaipur Literature after a hiatus. “It’s very exciting to be back at JLF. I have been a part of the Jaipur Virasat Foundation. We started it off and the museum has always had publications being discussed. In 2016, we launched couple of our books at that point in time. So, it’s exciting to have some of those names for the venues such as Baithak, Mughal Tent, Durbar Hall, etc.” She also thanked the new host of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Clarks Amer, as well as the old host, Diggi Palace, for the wonderful hospitality. “Thanks to Apurva and Timmy for having us here at Clarks Amer. Thanks to Rampratap Singh and Jyotika Kumari Diggi for having hosted us at the other places for so long,” she said.