Online museum to archive stories about the Kodavas

The Bengaluru-based Indian Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is inviting members of the Kodava community to share stories about their people and their cultural history for an online museum it plans to launch next year.

It’s International Museum Day on May 18.

Speaking ahead of the occasion, the IFA said people can send in stories with photographs and audio or video clips, which will be curated.

The project is called Sandooka, the Living Museum of Kodava Culture. Sandooka means treasure chest in the Coorgi language, and the museum strives to be a repository of stories ranging from traditional costumes to current experiences of the Kodavas, native inhabitants of Kodagu in Karnataka.

IFA is working with Nitin Kushalappa, an author and researcher from the Kodava community, to build this project with design experts Upasana and Saurav Roy from Switch Studio.

The project started in 2021. Rathi Vinay Jha, Chairman of the Sandooka Museum Advisory Group, shares, “The younger generation of the community is scattered all over the world and losing connection with their heritage. This museum will be an opportunity to reconnect with their culture.

And because the project wants to foster community participation and be globally accessible, the concept of online museums is a good fit, says Lina Vincent, project director and curator.

Arundhati Ghosh, executive director of the IFA, believes the museum will help document and preserve the stories and heritage of the Kodavas, much of whom remain undocumented.

“My vision is for this to be a dedicated virtual space for the Kodava community. I hope this can serve as a model for other communities that are disappearing to keep their stories alive,” says Lina.

You can submit stories at sandookamuseum.org/form/intro

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