|5000 Years of Indian Art||.|
Foreword to the Exhibit
One of the important tasks of the National Heritage Board is to explore and present the heritage of the people of Singapore in the context of their ancestral cultures. This exhibition of 5000 years of Indian art is part of our effort to carry out this task.
Since early times, the ancient civilization of India has been a major influence in Asia. Buddhism traveled from India to China along the overland Silk Road, while both Buddhism and Hinduism, spread southwards along the seaways of the maritime Silk Road to Southeast Asia. In time, these religions absorbed local customs and evolved a local character, but their source was India. Trade also flourished along these routes. There was a ceaseless flow of goods, vessels and men to and from India. In more recent times, migration from South India to what were known as the Straits Settlements has resulted in a sizable proportion of Singaporeans being of Indian descent. The historical ties between India and Singapore are hence clear and strong.
In common with other multi-cultural societies, different ethnic influences were so well accepted in contemporary Singapore society that many ethnic practices have become part of our identity and lifestyle. Some of the words we use and quite a lot of the food we eat, for example have come to us - directly or indirectly - from India.
Having said that, we must also acknowledge that for many non-Indian Singaporeans, the notion of India conjures up simplistic images. Our goal in exposing India's cultural heritage to the Singaporean audience is therefore an attempt to change perceptions by providing insights on Indian culture and society. Only then will we be able to understand our neighbors, and ourselves, more completely.
Cultural exchanges have invariably followed trade and movement of peoples. Hence it is appropriate that in tandem with Singapore's rationalization drive and increasing commitment of Singaporean companies to the strengthening cultural links between the two countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding in cultural exchange between India and Singapore concluded last year is intended to facilitate such endeavors. It will build on the strong relationship that already exists due to the collaborative efforts of the Department of Culture and Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, the National Museum, New Delhi and the National Museum of Singapore.
We wish to gratefully acknowledge the enthusiastic cooperation and support of our colleagues in India, without which this exhibition would not have been possible.
|Kamat's Potpourri 5000 Years of Indian Art|