Illuminating India is a season of exhibitions and events that celebrates India’s contribution to science, technology and mathematics.
At its heart are two major exhibitions: 5000 Years of Science and Innovation and Photography 1857–2017. Respectively they present a kaleidoscopic history of scientific breakthroughs in India and a unique photographic survey of the country's technological and cultural development that begins at the dawn of photography itself.
The varied event season spotlights the diverse scientific and cultural fabric of India and includes film screenings, music and dance performances, conversations with experts and much more.
Illuminating India commemorates 70 years of Independence and is part of the British Council’s UK/India Year of Culture.
Tickets for the two exhibitions are free and can be booked in advance online.
5000 Years of Science and Innovation
From some of the earliest cities to interplanetary exploration, Indian innovation in science, technology and mathematics has dramatically shaped the world we live in today.
5000 Years of Science and Innovation reveals how the Mughal emperors conserved nature in the 16th century, how 20th century mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan revolutionised mathematics, and how the Indian Space Research Organisation sent a camera to Mars for less than the cost of the film Gravity.
Let us take you on a journey through the remarkable history of Indian innovation and discovery, which has been influencing and changing people's lives for 5000 years.
Shortly after its invention in Britain in 1839, photography arrived in India. It was used by the British as a tool to document and exert power over the people, architecture and landscapes of the subcontinent, but it also became a medium for Indians themselves to express their unique experiences of the country.
This exhibition brings to light the previously overlooked Indian photographers who worked in parallel with their foreign counterparts from the 1850s onwards. Pivoting around two key dates: 1857, the year of the Mutiny and 1947, the year of Independence and Partition, it is an ambitious survey of the technological and artistic development of photography in India that examines the role the medium has played in charting the country’s modern history.
Among the images are works by Samuel Bourne, art photography pioneer Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, Henri Cartier-Bresson and award-winning contemporary photographer Vasantha Yogananthan.
Part of an exciting series of events marking the UK–India Year of Culture 2017–18, which will celebrate the vibrant cultural history of the two countries.
- Self-portrait with dogs, c.1870 (2012.04.0025-0029) © Trustees, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, City Palace, Jaipur
- Mitch Epstein, Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, India, 1981, courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander Köln
- Party Field, Janakpur, Nepal 2016c, from the series ‘A Myth of Two Souls’ (2013) © Vasantha Yogananthan