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The Lighter Side of India's Deities 

Wednesday, Nov 16 2011
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Ideally, art exhibits offer an "ah-ha" moment, when you stand transfixed and realize, "This speaks to me like nothing before." This exhibit contains pieces that scream "ah-ha" — that challenge your assumptions and reveal the massive contradictions of a culture that has enthralled outsiders for millennia. In contrast to the “Maharaja” exhibit in the same museum, which shows an India subjected to British colonialism, "Demons, Deities, and Dudes with 'Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel," is a playful consideration of figures who form a pantheon of devotion in Hinduism. Vishnu, Shiva, and their relations get the cartoon treatment from Patel, an artist at Pixar Animation Studios. If you've seen Patel's books, like The Little Book of Hindu Deities or Ramanaya: Divine Loophole, you're familiar with these works: big eyes, wild colors, silly set-ups. The deities' lighthearted doings are the brainchild of a son of Indian immigrants — a California kid who reinvented his parents' icons for a generation that might know little of these gods' epic exploits.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 11. Continues through April 22, 2011

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Jonathan Curiel

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