Indian Art - Asian Art Museum - 2018.09.16

History of the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco – Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture houses one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world, with more than 18,000 works of art in its permanent collection, some as much as 6,000 years old.

The museum owes its origin to a donation to the city of San Francisco by Chicago millionaire Avery Brundage, who was a major collector of Asian art. The Society for Asian Art, incorporated in 1958, was the group that formed specifically to gain Avery Brundage's collection. The museum opened in 1966 as a wing of the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park. Brundage continued to make donations to the museum, including the bequest of all his remaining personal collection of Asian art on his death in 1975. In total, Brundage donated more than 7,700 Asian art objects to San Francisco.

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Exhibit Overview - Painting is my Everything:

With precise skill and bold artistic vision, the 17 contemporary artists included in this exhibition, many of them women, employ a centuries-old regional styles to express personal experiences and viewpoints. They paint traditional subjects such as Hindu gods but also use their brushes to document and comment on everyday life as well as national and global events.

Mithila style painting, characterized by visually striking compositions, stylized images, delicately detailed surfaces and vibrant colors, was originally practiced exclusively by women on the walls of their homes. In the wake of a severe drought in the 1960s, this mural tradition was transferred to paper, a format that could be sold to bring much-needed income to rural villages.

Painting continues to be a catalyst of economic growth and social change in Mithila. For many women, artistic success has translated into financial independence and community respect. Dulari Devi, a woman from a lower caste community who had been a housemaid before earning her living as an artist, declares, “Ever since I started painting, I do it like worship . . . painting is my everything.”

History and Background:

Mithila, an ancient cultural region of India, lies primarily with the northeastern state of Bihar. While economically impoverished and provincial — its 40 million residents live primarily in small towns and rural villages — it has become a center of artistic production, in large part due to the establishment of the Mithila Art Institute in 2003.

In 1934, while surveying the damage caused by an 8.2 magnitude earthquake in Bihar state, a British civil servant spotted wall paintings inside the cracked-open marriage chambers and home shrines of the devastated houses and “discovered” what was a centuries-old tradition. What he saw were lush, colorful, intimate scenes: images of wedding rituals, a profusion of flowers and animals as symbols of fecundity and depictions of god and goddesses. A traditional domestic artistic tradition, one that had been passed down from mother to daughter and confined to the interior walls of the most intimate rooms of the home, suddenly became public.

Over the years, word of this dynamic tradition spread beyond the Mithila region. During a severe drought in 1966, Pupul Jayakar, director of the All India Handicrafts Board, conceived a plan to empower village women to use their artistic skills to earn money. She arranged for the women to be trained in painting on paper, shifting the mural tradition to a portable format that could be sold to tourists and at handicraft shops in India’s major cities.

Painting continues to be a catalyst for economic growth and social change, helping to break down boundaries of gender and caste. In 2003, the U.S.-based Ethnic Arts Foundation established the Mithila Art Institute. The free art school has a blind entrance competition, and applicants from across the region vie for a spot. By training students from all backgrounds, the institute enables the broader society to participate in a tradition that had once been confined to the upper castes. For many women, artistic success has translated into financial independence and community respect, enabling them to make life decisions for themselves and their families for the first time.

On the left, the Prime Minister flying into the local area in a helicoptor!

These women are suppose to be Hippies!

The drawing on the right is of Mother Nature!

This are installation is a room covered with sound proofing material, speakers with light stropes flashing and an off and on noise blaring.

A piano with the drawing of India covering it. And of course, the shop where one can purchase things related to the exhibit!

Created on: 2018.09.16
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Updated on: 2018.09.16