Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pillars of Faith: Exhibition on Sacred Hindu Structures

By Qishin Tariq
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Lebuh Queen, Penang, (acrylic on canvas), by Peter Liew.
MALAYSIA---Art enthusiast Prof Dr Krishna Gopal Rampal celebrates 10 years of collecting Hindu temple art with an expansive exhibition. When questioned recently what the direction of his art collection was, Prof Dr Krishna Gopal Rampal was prompted to reconsider why he collected art.
Realising he needed a theme to tie his collection together, Prof Krishna began to collect and commision paintings of Hindu temples around Malaysia and Singapore. His collection gradually expanded through the years and it now includes temples in South-East Asia. [link]

Chronicling Mississippi’s ‘Church Mothers,’ and Getting to Know a Grandmother

By Samuel G. Freedman
Corine Thomas, 93, a church mother from Lambert, Miss. The term
is one of respect and homage in black Christianity. Credit Alysia Burton Steele
MISSISSIPPI---Toward noon on a torrid Monday in the Mississippi Delta, Alysia Burton Steele drove down Highway 49, looking for the crossroads near the Old Antioch Baptist Church. A photographer by training and a professor by title, Ms. Steele was headed for the homes of two older neighbors, Lela Bearden, 88, and Herma Mims Floyd. She was bringing the women legacies to inspect, legacies in the form of portraits and testimonies she had taken of them over the last few years. Ms. Bearden and Ms. Floyd were part of a larger assemblage of 50 African-American women whom Ms. Steele had chosen to chronicle in text and image for a book-in-progress she has titled “Jewels in the Delta.” Whether by formal investiture or informal acclamation, nearly all the women in the book held the title of “church mother,” a term of respect and homage in black Christianity. [link]

Ostad Elahi, a Tanbur Master, Is Celebrated at Met Museum

By Vivien Schweitzer
Ostad Elahi (1895-1974), an Iranian judge and a tanbur master. Credit Nour Foundation
NEW YORK---Most mystics begin their lives in the wider community and then retreat into seclusion, but the musician and philosopher Ostad Elahi (1895-1974) followed the opposite path. It has been considered sacred since the 14th century, when it was adopted by the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq order, also known as the Fervents of Truth. On recordings, Elahi’s music can sound startlingly modern and dissonant, and strikingly beautiful, interwoven with complex rhythmic patterns and so richly polyphonic that it sounds as if multiple instruments had to be playing. His achievements are now being explored in a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition called “The Sacred Lute: The Art of Ostad Elahi.” [link]

Metropolitan Museum of Art: “The Sacred Lute” (Ends Jan. 11, 2015). There will be a lecture and concert next Saturday, a concert of Persian music on Oct. 10, a tanbur workshop on Nov. 15 and three short concerts on Nov. 16 at the Met; metmuseum.org. 

Inspired by Tradition: Self-taught Hindu Artist Athira Sajith

By Nita Sathyendran
Artist Athira Sajith Photo: S. Mahinsha
INDIA---Athira Sajith has captured the essence of the book 18 Puranangal in mural-like art. Self-taught Athira Sajith’s task was “daunting” from the very beginning. She had to convey the essence of 18 of the main Puranas on canvas, as art work to accompany 18 Puranangal, an unabridged Malayalam translation of the ancient Sanskrit treatises that is being published by DC Books. “The beauty of the Puranas is that they are open to interpretation,” says Athira. [link]

The Ongoing Controversey of Art vs. Islam

By Mohammed Al-Khayat
One Yemeni artist was beaten for having painted a woman wearing a traditional Yemenis dess (pictured).
YEMEN---Artist Radfan Al-Mohammadi, who is also the head of the Arabian Forum for Fine Arts, has paid a high-price for his art, including the breaking-off of an engagement when the uncle of his future bride learned of his profession. Like concerned relatives around the world, he feared that Al-Mohammadi would not be able to support his daughter. There was a secondary concern as well. Like many—but not all—Muslims, he feared that his daughter’s fiancé was pursuing a haram (“forbidden”) activity under Islamic doctrine. The subject has been widely debated by religious scholars. [link]

At Gateway to Hamptons, Ku Klux Klan Advertises for New Members

By Al Baker
A Ku Klux Klan recruitment form and crude drawing were left in
Hampton Bays driveways. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
NEW YORK---All along the bucolic back roads of this blue-collar gateway to the more opulent Hamptons, residents agree: There is nothing sophisticated about the Ku Klux Klan’s continuing drive to recruit new members. The pamphlets the group has distributed seem to have been made in somebody’s basement, printed on threadbare paper with a printer in need of ink. They are stuffed into plastic sandwich bags, along with a few Jolly Rancher candies serving as weights, and tossed onto driveways in the dead of night. Since it is considered constitutionally protected free speech, the Southampton Town police say, there is no criminality. [link]

Yael Enkin's Journey Through Art: From Catholicism to Judaism

By Judy Simon

Born into a good Catholic family, Yael was raised with strong values, parents who encouraged her to believe in herself and a very creative grandmother. In Dijon France she began to learn Arabic. She returned to her native Ohio and started university studies, where for the first time, she met a Torah observant Jew. Something resonated in Yael's soul as she realized that she found what she had been searching for. Though her company started out as Blue Specks in my Coffee, she now calls it Yael Enkin Creations and she uses a variety of interesting woods (African Walnut, Padauk, Mahogany, Beech) to make word art, word games, candle holders and wooden puzzle art to name a few. She is passionate about her work, creating wood-art messages about joy, about G-d and about creativity. [listen]