The Visual Arts Department and Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present the exhibition, “From Motherhood to Mother Goddess,” from March 14 to April 25. The opening reception on March 14 will feature English Professor and storyteller Raouf Mama; Tenzin Wangchuk who will perform Tibetan chants; and performance artist Karen Dolminitsh. The reception will take place from 4-7 p.m. in the Akus Gallery on the lower level of Shafer Hall. A related symposium takes place on April 3 from 3-5 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium with scholars from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds.
“The more than 50 artworks in this exhibition are an attempt to analyze the process of transcendence from motherhood to Mother Goddess,” said Neeta Omprakash Naique, curator and Nehru Fullbright scholar. “The artists have expressed their views and queries in visual language, bringing together iconic as well as anthropomorphic forms of Mother Goddesses from Tibet, India, Africa and America’s Marilyn Monroe!” These artists are local, national, international and reveal the universality of this theme.
“The 16 participants of this exhibition are first-and second-generation transnational artists from India, Africa, Cuba and Puerto Rico who question the tradition of worship, and juxtapose it with contemporary reality,” said Gail Gelburd, professor and chair of the Visual Arts Department. “They further make an attempt to connect with personal experience and give it a universal connotation, and in turn, propel one to question the very concept of the Mother Goddess. In doing so, they invariably search for the one (Mother Goddess) from their contemporary society.”
Omprakash says, “The process of de-coding the meaning of various symbols and the revelation of the inherent meaning is amazing and enriching. This exhibition further adds colors from America onto my Indian palette.”
Omprakash has become the quintessential transnational engaged in global exploration. She has reached across thousands of miles from Goa, India to Connecticut, to explore the myths of gods and goddesses. As a resident Nehru-Fulbright scholar, she has inculcated students and faculty with the myths of India, while discovering the diversity of the United States. Using her role as an art critic, she has explored the art of African American, Cuban, Latina and Tibetan art and the diversity that represents art in the United States. “She has found a bond in the universality of the Mother and the Goddess. In this exhibition and catalog, she shares that transnational universality,” said Gelburd.
Left, installation artist Amina Ahmed, and right, curator Neeta Omrpakash
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state’s public liberal arts university. Eastern serves approximately 5,400 students each year on its Willimantic campus and satellite locations.
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