Hindus have applauded Frist Center for developing this Hinduism focused exhibition. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth. It was a laudable step for Frist Center to provide opportunity to the world
to further explore Hinduism and its concepts, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.
Curated by Dr Joan Cummins, Asian Art Curator at Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), it introduces Vishnu to broader audiences through over 170 sculptures, paintings, prints, textiles, and ritual objects created in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, going as far back as fourth century, and reveals the many ways Vishnu was portrayed and celebrated. Accompanied by a 292-page illustrated catalog, it also provides a brief survey of Hindu art styles as well as an examination of Vishnu-worshipping traditions. It shall continue at Frist till May 29, and then move to Brooklyn Museum from June 24 to October 2.
According to a release, the first section of the exhibition, ‘Images of Vishnu’, introduces Vishnu in his primary form with subsections dedicated to his attributes and legends. The second section, ‘The Avatars of Vishnu’, is devoted to Vishnu's avatars (incarnations) explored as a group as well as individually and includes substantial sections devoted to Rama and Krishna. The third section, ‘Worshiping Vishnu’, explores some of the ways the deity has been venerated over the centuries. Center has even formed a ‘Vishnu Advisory Committee’ just for this exhibition.
Vishnu exhibition includes ‘Balarama diverting the course of the Yamuna River with his plough’ (watercolour; 1740-65), ‘Lakshmi massaging the foot of Vishnu” (watercolour; 1765-70), Standing Vishnu (terracotta; fifth century), Vishnu flanked by his personified attributes (sandstone; 12th century), Lakshmi-Narayana (sandstone; 10th century), Varaha rescuing the earth (watercolour; 1730-40), ‘Pendant depicting the avatars of Vishnu’ (early 18th century; gold with champlevé enamel, citrine quartz, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds), Krishna Fluting for the gopis (watercolour; 1730), ‘Miniature Shrine for an Icon or Ritual Object’ (19th century; gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls), ‘Swing for an Image of Krishna’ (18th century; silver and gold), etc.
It is sponsored by HCA and TriStar Family of Hospitals and First Tennessee Bank, and supported by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) (a US federal government agency). Zed has urged NEA to fund more Hinduism centered art projects so that more Americans could immerse in the rich philosophy Hinduism offered.
"We are honoured to organise and present Vishnu: Hinduism's blue-skinned savior, the first major exhibition to explore the Vaishnava tradition in art," said Frist Center executive director Dr Susan H Edwards.
The Frist Center whose vision is ‘to inspire people through art’, has hosted a spectacular array of art from the region, the country and around the world. William R Frist is Chairman of Board of Trustees. Vishnu is ‘preserver’ in the Hindu triad with Brahma and Shiva as the aspect of the Supreme. He had ten incarnations to establish dharma (divine law). Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Capital of the state of Tennessee, Nashville is known as "pilgrimage center" of country-music, home of Vanderbilt University, and is famous for its honky tonk bars.