Beneath The Banyan Tree - An Exhibit of Indian Art and Paintings

The cover image from the Beneath the Banyan catalogFrom November 17, 2002 through January 6, 2003, the Lowe Art Gallery, in collaboration with the South Asia Program and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, presented the exhibition, Beneath the Banyan Tree: Ritual, Remembrance, and Storytelling in Performed North Indian Folk Arts. The exhibition focused on four major forms of performed North Indian folk art that capture the intersection of ritual, performance and art in the living traditions of North India.The art forms include:

(1) terracotta and brass (cire perdue) sculptures that represent the deities and serve as offerings to them;

(2) pata, storytelling scrolls made and performed in West Bengal;

(3) women’s paintings from the Mithila region of Bihar, which create auspiciousness for their life cycle rituals and tell the stories of the gods and goddesses that enliven lives there;

(4) Rajasthani par, or large scrolls which are used by singers to tell epic stories in the western state of Rajasthan.

With this exhibition, the organizers sought to present the folk arts that represent the traditions of the South Asian immigrant community, as well as the dialectics between art and performance and between traditional and contemporary expression. They focused especially on the voices and imaginations of those still living in rural communities in northern India as they reach out to and become involved in the western worlds to which some of their kin have migrated. That a Bengali pata now deals with the atom bomb speaks to the intersection of the worlds of India and the U.S., and to the importance of linking these voices through this exhibition.

  • Teachers Resources
  • Terracota & Brass
  • Mithila Paintings
  • Bengali Pattas
  • Rajasthani Par