Beneath The Banyan Tree - Bengali Patas
The Bengali patas, long scrolls usually 12-20 inches wide and 10-16 feet long, are composed of a series of panels which, when read from top to bottom, tell the story that the artist/story teller narrates as she or he unrolls the scroll. Originally, these scrolls focused on mythological stories, and were more commonly made by men. Now, they are as likely made by women and frequently represent modern dilemmas and social issues, such as the ravages of floods or detailing why literacy is important. In this exhibition, the scrolls represent the tradition that has changed the most, a theme that will be emphasized in the exhibition. Moreover, in contrast to the par scrolls, here the design elements have remained constant, while content has changed.
These objects come from the collection of Geraldine Forbes, Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at the State University of New York-Oswego. A long-time scholar of Bengal, Professor Forbes became intrigued by the patas in the 1970s while resident at the American Institute of Indian Studies Guest House in Calcutta. Intrigued especially because of the social themes and historical incidents, these patas resonated with her work on women’s social history in modern Bengal. This exhibition is the first major showing of this collection.
Beneath the Banyan Tree
Terracota & Brass