f r o m th e d ir e c t o r
Welcome to the world on your doorstep Martin Roth, director of the V&A
“ This year we are staging an ongoing festival of events and displays to celebrate the global influence of art and design from India”
oday, as I write this, visitors are enjoying V&A exhibitions across the world, in Melbourne, Dublin, Montreal, Sharjah, Ghent, Nashville and elsewhere. To reach an international audience, however, we have only to open our doors. Visitors to the V&A in South Kensington and the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green come from all over the world. Many are tourists, but many are also Londoners. The capital is home to individuals from more than 270 different countries. About a third of the city was born outside the UK, and I can include myself in this statistic. In the 1850s the V&A’s founders tried to bring the world to London through “The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”. Now, the world is already here, and not just in the city’s many diaspora communities. The cosmopolitan character of London is also due to the connections between the city and global economics, communications and culture. I believe that to really understand these different cultures, we need to engage with them on a human scale – with other people, with objects. Museums are great places to do this. The V&A’s collection is a window on to design, history, art and politics from across the world. The original nineteenth-century collection has grown to around 2.5 million objects. We have an incredible international collection, and a responsibility to give everyone access to this rich resource. Within that collection, the V&A preserves more than 65,000 wonderful pieces of Indian art and design. This year we are staging an ongoing festival of events and displays to celebrate the global influence of art and design from India. Upcoming highlights include the largest exhibition of Indian textiles to date, ‘The Fabric of India’ (3 October – 10 January), and a beautiful display of Indian jewellery, ‘Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection’ (21 November – 28 March), in addition to ‘Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860’ (24 June – 11 October) and the display ‘The Art of Indian Storytelling’ (11 August – 24 January). This autumn we will mark the 25th anniversary of both the opening of the Nehru Gallery of South Asian art at the V&A and the launch of the Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections. Of course, that’s not all. Installations are already underway for another gathering of global talent – the annual London Design Festival (19–27 September). We are busier than ever this summer, and I hope you will all come to enjoy the London Design Festival, the Indian Festival and, of course, the V&A.
Left: map shawl, woollen embroidery, Kashmir, nineteenth century © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Magazine Summer 2015
V&A Magazine, Issue 37, Summer 2015 Style, sex and psychology