Once Upon a Time in Little India
Having only opened in May 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre has wasted no time in launching its inaugural special exhibition entitled ‘Once Upon a Time in Little India’. The Little India thematic exhibition will run from 22 October 2016 to 21 July 2017 at the four-storey museum based at Campbell Lane in Little India.
The exhibition seeks to tell the story of Little India using a selection of archival materials and artefacts sourced from the National Collection and loaned or donated from the community. The community donations and loans on display feature strongly – with many personal items from traditional businesses and individuals of prominence or of special relationships with Little India.
Not merely a historical presentation, the exhibition features works commissioned by contemporary artists. At 14 metres long, Navin Rawachaikul’s collage for his ‘Passage to Little India’ composition takes up almost one quarter of the exhibition hall length. It juxtaposes over 250 individuals associated with the Little India precinct’s past and present.
Film director K Rajagopal’s short film trilogy pays homage to three stories set in Little India: Indian labour at the old Race Course, P Govindasamy Pillai’s business enterprises in Little India, and the world of cinema at Syed Alwi Road’s New World.
Indian Heritage Centre’s convenient location at Campbell Lane means the visitors immediately enter a bustling street scene of roadside grocers, textile shops and traditional Indian sweet shops at the Little India Arcade, a restored 1920s shophouse cluster managed by the Hindu Endowments Board.
Once Upon a Time in Little India is a gateway to Little India precinct’s rich history and personal stories. Visitors should use it as a springboard to explore the vibrant neighbourhood – of the bustling streets, the people, colourful festivals like Deepavali and Pongal, the five-foot-ways, the traditional trades and places of worship like the Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, Masjid Angullia and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.