India's Gateway: Gujarat, Mumbai and Britain

India’s Gateway is a new exhibition opening at Bagshaw Museum, Batley, on Saturday, 16 July, that traces the history of Gujarat and Mumbia as age-old centres of trade and migration and their links with Britain.



The extraordinary relationship between Britain and the Indian subcontinent began in 1608 when sailing ships from London reached Gujarat. It is a relationship that endures to this day and has not only changed Gujarat and its people but has profoundly altered the fabric of modern-day Britain.

The exhibition combines photography and film from renowned UK photographer Tim Smith, which presents a vivid portrait of modern Gujarat and Mumbai today, with historical pictures, objects and materials drawn from Kirklees museum collections and the local Gujarati community.

Tim Smith spent nine weeks in India in 2014 taking photographs and recording people’s stories for the India’s Gateway project, concentrating on visiting areas with a past or present day connection to Britain.

Tim Smith commented:  “From food, film and fashion to industry and finance, interest in India is booming, and Gujarat and Mumbai are leading the way. My work is inspired by Gujarat’s vibrant mix of cultures, and how that mix has been shaped by the region’s rich history of trade, seafaring and migration. It’s been great to work with the different Gujarati communities both here and in India, lots of people have contributed stories and ideas to the show”. 

India’s Gateway is organised by Tim Smith and Oriental Arts in Bradford. The exhibition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

There is a programme of events and activities to accompany this exhibition which will be on show at Bagshaw Museum in Wilton Park, Batley, until Friday, 23 September.

On Tuesday 16 August,  from 12noon to 4pm children can try Indian block printing on the theme of Journeys and Ships. Then on Tuesday 23 August, from 12noon to 4pm: children can have a go at Gujarati puppet making for storytelling. Both activities are part of Bagshaw’s Explore the World theme and are suitable for 5-12 years olds.  Both activities cost £1 per child.

On Saturday 3 September from 2pm – 4pm visitors can take part in a Carrom tournament. Carrom is a ‘strike and pocket’ table game played in Gujarat, similar to billiards and table shuffleboard. There will be experts on hand to teach everyone the rules.  Admission is free but booking is essential. Places can be booked by calling 01924 324765, or emailing bagshaw.museum@kirklees.gov.uk 
 
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September is Bollywood Film Weekend. From 1pm to 3.30pm both days there will be special screenings of Bollywood films with plenty of opportunities for singing along.  On 17 September ‘Piku’ will be showing, followed by a discussion; on 18 September ‘Chillar Party’ will be on show. Families are welcome, the films are free but booking is essential.  Places can be booked by calling 01924 324765, or emailing bagshaw.museum@kirklees.gov.uk 

In addition there is a poetry writing competition for children and adults on the theme ‘Ships and Sailing’.  Participants are invited to write a poem about the sea links between Gujerat and the UK, past or present. 

Poems will be judged by the Batley Gujerati Poets and local writer Adam Strickson. Poems should be emailed to bagshaw.museum@kirklees.gov.uk or posted to Bagshaw Museum, Wilton Park, Batley, WF17 0AS.  

The deadline for entries is Friday, 19 August.