Colorful elephants decorate the Gund Gallery ﾗ countless patterns and incarnations of ceramic statues, paintings and film.
Called Ganesh, an elephant-headed god prevalent in Indian culture, this deity is the subject of Global Ganesh: Temple, Market and Museum, the exhibit running at the Gund Gallery from Sept. 9 through Nov. 24.
“His malleable identity suits the contemporary fluidity of boundaries between religion, commerce and cultural heritage production in India and its diaspora,” wrote Natalie Marsh, director of the Gund Gallery, in an email.
“The film series … is intended to offer greater insight into the exhibition while linking exhibitions to larger intellectual themes … at Kenyon.”
The exhibit explores these themes, as does the accompanying Indian Film Series.
Beginning Monday, Sept. 16, the series includes a total of seven films chosen to facilitate a dialogue with not only the exhibit but also Kenyon’s curriculum.
The film series will run until Dec. 2 and covers a wide range of themes including romance, diplomacy and allegiance. The film series corresponds to material in several disciplines, including sociology, international studies and women’s and gender studies.
Ranging from historical to modern, and featuring four major Indian languages, the films have English subtitles and cover a wide range of topics.
“We regularly organize film series in conjunction with the themes of our exhibitions,” Marsh wrote. “The Indian film series is entirely meant to connect to our focus on Indian popular visual culture as featured in the current exhibition Global Ganesh: Temple, Market, Museum.
The exhibition is the product of grants from the Mellon Foundation in 2009 and 2010, and involved my collaboration with faculty from five other liberal arts colleges: Vassar, Denison, Middlebury, Scripps and Furman.”
The first film, initially scheduled for Sept. 5 in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater, is titled Jodhaa-Akbar. Due to copyright issues, however, the Gallery postponed the screening to a later time.
The film premiered in 2008 and was the winner of the Audience Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the S?o Paulo International Film Festival, as well as seven Star Screen Awards and numerous other accolades.
About a marriage between Muslim Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great and the Hindu Princess Jodhaa, Jodhaa-Akbar features action and dazzling cinematography and wardrobe.
Additionally, the Gallery’s Ganesh exhibit integrates film of Ganesh.
“Film clips and other video and animation work is featured in the exhibition proper. ﾅ [It] also includes festival images of ephemeral media, print technology and image production/distribution, web and new media, comic books and animation,” Marsh wrote. “The film clips and other video pieces all include imagery of Ganesh.”
Other films in the series include Mother India (1957, Hindi), Roja (1992, Hindi), Baasha (1995, Tamil), Dweepa (2002, Kaanada), Rang de Basanti (2006, Hindi) and Bommarillu (2006, Telugu). All of the films aim to give insight into Global Ganesh and Indian culture as a whole.