Unmasking the Mask: a Visit to Aditi Gallery

Art is a beautiful expressive medium that touches the life of each viewer in a special way. For some, collecting art is a form of therapy, for some, it is a mode of soul-searching and for some, it is an effort to piece together the essence of the world. The Aditi Gallery in Udupi is one such labour of love. The History of Medicine club of KMC, Manipal organised an Orthopaedics talk at the gallery and exhibited an exclusive presentation of masks, meticulously collected from all over the planet.

The event began with a welcome address delivered by Dr. Suresh Pillai. He outlined the objectives of the club and the various events undertaken by them. He stressed the importance of revisiting the past of Medicine to improve healthcare in the present. Dr. Kiran K V Acharya then took over and gave more insight into the gallery. He spoke about the varied origins of the masks and the unique backstories behind them. With great enthusiasm, he displayed the mask collection he also mentioned collecting medical antiques.

The introductions were followed by the much-anticipated lecture. Dr. Sharath K Rao was the keynote speaker. Delving into the rich history of Orthopaedics, Dr. Rao traced the entire timeline of this specialty. From the origins of the widely recognised Orthopaedic logo of a bent tree and a supporting stick, to the sequential improvements that have reduced post-surgical complications, the audience listened in rapt attention as Dr. Rao passionately narrated tales behind medical advancements. He concluded his talk with an eighty-year-old video of a surgery and mentioned the ways in which an operating room today has stayed the same, and the ways in which it has changed. The applause for Dr. Rao’s witty and informative lecture was resounding.

The event culminated with a formal Vote-of-Thanks. The audience was invited to take a closer look at the masks and medical antiques on display. Dr. Kiran K V Acharya warmly entertained all questions and heartily imparted all his knowledge on his invaluable treasure. Collected from all corners of the planet, each mask came with a description of its significance to its homeland. From religious figures to cultural icons to even one honouring Plague doctors, the masks represented affiliations of art with heritage. It was a true joy to see diverse cultures that are geographically distant, sharing space on the showcase.


We are all distinct in our traditions, customs, behaviours and personalities, and the Aditi gallery proved to be a celebration of these very same differences. At the same time, the exhibition also makes one appreciate our commonalities, particularly a reverence for art. No matter what part of the earth we belong to, no matter what our cultural upbringing is like— we are all united by art.


Written by Ishita Sharma for MTTN

Pictures by Maithili Acharya for MTTN

Edited by Aditi Atreya for MTTN




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