The Osian's Group have announced the beta launch of Theosianama.com, as part of their knowledge-based education project called the Osianama Learning Experience (OLE). The portal intends to be the world's most comprehensive private textual and visual archive focusing on the Indian, Asian, and World Arts and Cinema.
While the Arts are sub-divided into Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary Arts, the Antiquarian Books, Prints and Photography Collection contains rare 17-20th century Books, Engravings, Aquatints, Lithographs, Chromolithographs, Posters, Postcards, Advertisements, Calendars, Playing cards, Textile Labels, Maps on the Indian sub-continent.
In his welcome note, Neville Tuli, chairman, of Osian's Group, said: "This is a proud moment for Osian's, my team and myself as nearly two decades of hard work towards building one of the world's most comprehensive and integrated knowledge-bases on the Indian Arts, Books, Architecture, Culture and the Worlds of Cinema will soon reach you with the 1st Phase Beta Launch of theosianama.com."
Tuli added that the free online search engine was established to help transform the perceptions of Indian and Asian civilizations within the hearts and minds of the Indian and global public, by falling in love once again with the rich diverse heritage of ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary art and cultural objects and forms.
In its first phase (August – December 2013), theosianama.com will focus primarily on Hindi and Bombay Cinema, the History of Indian Modern and Contemporary Fine Arts and its Market and the World of Books, Catalogs and Newspaper clippings over the last 300 years.
The cinematic imagery when fully uploaded will cover all forms of film publicity material and memorabilia, which will include more than 500,000 original artworks for the history of World cinema. Also, one of the key knowledge-bases which will be made public in the coming days is the complete visual and textual database of every public auction transaction in the world since 1987 to the present day pertaining to Indian Modern and Contemporary Fine Arts.
Tuli claimed that no other country has ever made such a knowledge base freely available to the public.
The digitization and archiving was an obvious need to complement "real-world" physicality of the Auction House, the Film Festival, the Publishing and Design House, the Museum, Art Funds, the Conservation Laboratory and other initiatives of the Osian's Group. The archives gave rise to a different framework, allowing a radically different level of sharing and dissemination.
"The creative vision was clear, over 20 years ago, to systematically build the finest holistic framework for knowledge, seamlessly integrating text and image, different cultural disciplines and subjects, different time periods and histories, different aesthetic and creative sensibilities so as to build a unified foundation of knowing the material-object base which constitutes Indian civilization and its rich diverse cultural heritage and contemporary forms," explained Tuli.
"Building an Oxford for India was the basic blueprint," he adds, not mincing words in sharing the ambitious vision.