A Yoga Story: American museum readies for show


The display slated to conclude on January 26, 2014 would include more than 120 objects from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe, and the United States.

Eighty masterpieces of sculpture and painting, dating from the third to the eighteenth century as well as some 40 colonial and early modern photographs, books, and films, will reveal how yoga was despised as superstition during the 19th century and then resurrected in early 20th century India as a democratic practice open to all.

The exhibition has been a work in progress since the year 2008, from which she was joined in the project by scholars in disciplines of anthropology, art history, religion, philosophy and sociology.

According to Debra the audience for contemporary Indian art is growing all the time. "Many of the visitors to the Freer-Sackler, whether repeat visitors or here for the first time, are passionate about Indian art. Some come to the permanent galleries in the Freer, - Arts of the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayas,' for a place to commune with or meditate upon extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist sculptures because the galleries are beautifully designed and the works are sublime.

"Those who come to our temporary exhibitions, such as 'Worlds within Worlds: Imperial Paintings from India and Iran' (summer 2012), express interest and delight in simultaneously seeing great art and learning more about Indian culture." says Debra.

The galleries have previously shown contemporary artists from India like Ravinder Reddy, Anish Kapoor and Simryn Gill.

"Ten years ago, audiences in general seemed to focus on the national origins of artists ¿ now there is a more profound appreciation of contemporary Indian and Indian-origin artists as full participants in a global conversation," says the curator.

After its debut in Washington "The Art of Transformation" is scheduled to travel to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (February 21¿May 25, 2014) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (June 22¿September 7, 2014).

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