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Devotion to Krishna Featured in UMFA Exhibit

UMFA -- Bara Masa Series (South Asian Indian), n.d., painting. Gift of the Dayton Hudson Foundation.
Painting depicting the Hindu god Krishna from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts permanent collection

  The Hindu god Krishna is the focus of a new exhibit opening this Friday at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  It’s a follow-up to an exhibit of photographs of widows from one of India’s holy cities.

Fazal Sheikh’s black-and-white photographs of widows living in the holy city of Vrindivan show how a group of marginalized women are seeking moksha, or release from suffering, by their devotion to Krishna in their everyday lives.  They’ve been on display since July 11th, on loan from the Princeton University Art Museum.

To supplement the exhibit, UMFA has added a display of sculpture and paintings of the god Krishna from its permanent collection.  Associate Curator Luke Kelly says the artifacts go as far back as the13th century, with some more recent ones as well.

Kelly tells KUER, “These were probably from the interior of a temple and they would be next to a more exotic sculpture of a god.  And they show just various stories of the deities and so the one on the left actually shows a favorite story of Krishna where he had stolen the clothes of the cowherd girls.”

Hindus revere Krishna as an incarnation of the god Vishnu.  His playfulness is one of his best-known characteristics.  Krishna is also the central figure in the scriptural BhagavadGita, which describes an ultimate battle between good and evil.

The Krishna exhibit and Fazal Sheikh’s photographs will be on display at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts through November 30th.

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