The Visual Arts Department and Akus Gallery at Eastern are presenting the exhibition, "From Motherhood to Mother Goddess," from March 14 to April 25. The opening reception on March 14 featured English Professor and storyteller Raouf Mama; Tenzin Wangchuk who performed Tibetan chants; and performance artist Karen Dolmanisth.
"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 Fulbright 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!"
A related symposium, "From Motherhood to Mother Goddess: Transcendence from Self to Absolute," took place on April 3 in Shafer Auditorium with scholars from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Panelists included Gail Gelburd, professor and chair of the Visual Arts Department; Reynold Kerr, art critic and curator of African Art; Vladimir Merchenkov, professor of aesthetics and theory of Ohio University; Robert Newman, author and academic scholar; and Neeta Omprakash, Nehru-Fulbright Scholar.
"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 Gelburd. "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."