Thursday, March 8, 2018

'Living With Gods' at the British Museum

By Anya Harrison
Set of Shrine tiles, Mumbai, India, 1980s. Tiles from a Parsee household show the constantly burning fire representing Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian god (The Trustees of the British Museum)
“It is wholly indeterminate” — so reads a wall text by the American conceptual artist Robert Barry just before you leave the British Museum’s small but densely packed exhibition, “Living with Gods: Peoples, Places and Worlds Beyond,” on view through April 8. The text could just as well serve as its summary. Amulets, crosses, totems, posters, lamps, textiles, icons, items of clothing — these, and many more, are a kaleidoscopic accumulation of both everyday and venerated objects that form a gateway to discover the myriad forms of religious belief — or faith — that have sustained individuals and communities for millennia. Curated by Jill Cook, “Living with Gods” dispels with chronology or the grouping of objects by region or religion. Instead, it opts for a more fluid, cross-pollinating arrangement based on shared values and frameworks — the power of the elements, sacred places, the “wheel of life” — that we use to try and make sense of the world and our experience of it. [More]