Purvai: Sona Datta: Ancient Monuments of Mahabalipuram

Sat 12 Aug

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Call: 01851 708 480

Sona Datta, presenter of BBC4’s Treasures of the Indus, will give a talk on the famous temple and monuments of Mahabalipuram in South India, A World Heritage site which is extensively documented in the Mackenzie Collection.  Mahabalipuram was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava Kingdom in the 7th century. 
Throughout this illustrated presentation she will discuss the importance of the site and the significance of Mackenzie’s documentation of it.

Sona Datta is an art historian and cultural collaborator who until recently was Head of South Asian art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts where she extended the museum’s world-renowned modern Indian collections to include the best contemporary art referencing all of South Asia. Unusually, Sona Datta wears both medieval and modern hats as her previous research has looked at the rich medieval temple architecture of Tamil Nadu in South India. 

Sona previously worked at the British Museum for 8 years where her exhibitions included the flagship Voices of Bengal season (2006), which attracted more people of South Asian extraction than any project in the British Museum’s history. Sona also radically redefined the British Museum’s engagement with modern collecting through the acquisition of contemporary art from Pakistan that linked to the Museum’s rich holdings of historic Mughal painting. In 2015 she wrote and presented the acclaimed BBC4 series Treasures of the Indus, described as providing adventure with engaging historical and cultural material, lifting the veil on the region’s past and proving you must know where you have been to know where you’re going.