Stories and Art  Faculty at the ArtRage exhibit.

For six weeks this spring, the South Asia Center co-sponsored an exhibition titled “From Gods to Social Justice: Mithila Artists Paint for Change” at the ArtRage Gallery near the SU campus. With sponsorship from the Ray Smith Symposium and the Humanities Center at SU, ArtRage presented 24 works of Bengali scrolls (pata) and Mithila paintings from Bihar dealing with issues of social justice as they affect lives in India. 

Topics covered ranged from HIV-AIDS, plastic contamination, ‘eve-teasing’ (sexual harassment), climate change, and and the impact of patriarchy on women’s lives. Associated events included a presentation of Indian dance by members of the Syracuse Indian community, a screening of Blood Leaves Its Trail, a film on the Indian occupation of Kashmir and how it effects the lives of everyday Kashmiris, and several talks by the curators, Geraldine Forbes, professor emerita of SUNY-Oswego and Susan Wadley, Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asia at SU.

 One of the highlights was a visit by thirteen students from The New School. Armed with a scavenger hunt prompt that allowed them to engage with the artwork, each student eventually chose one painting to explain to their peers, examining both aesthetics and content. They left planning to learn more about India in the coming year as well as to make paintings and scrolls that dealt with issues in their own lives.

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