Program Overview


spacer

Hard copies of the exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase at the Conference registration desk (see schedule) or online at http://www.mithilapaintings-eaf.org/traveling_exhibition.html

As "folk" arts and crafts, the Government of India placed the folk art forms considered here under the Ministry of Industry. These "folk arts" were seen as "craft" and potential industrial products and not as art forms. One of the key concepts underlying both the exhibition of Mithila painting and the accompanying symposium is whether or not these forms are  "craft" or "folk art" or "fine art." Furthermore, as folk art moves into the modern marketplace, instead of being something created for family or community use, it becomes commoditized; that is, it is seen as having economic value beyond its household use—a focus of attention in this symposium.

Long the domain of upper-caste women, Mithila painting is known for its vibrant color and eye-catching geometrical shapes. Originally, this artwork consisted of murals, which adorned the inner walls of courtyards and houses and depicted gods and goddesses, deity symbols, and daily life. When Mithila painting was introduced to the outside world in the 1930s, it underwent changes related to commodification, style, and content.

“Today, women of all ages use this once ritual tradition to comment on social issues facing them in their region, including marriage, dowry deaths, and female infanticide," says co-organizer Susan Wadley, the Ford-Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies. "It’s also used to celebrate goals and accomplishments."

"Transformations" is part of the Ray Smith Symposium Series, established in 1989, as the result of a bequest from the estate of SU alumnus Ray W. Smith '21 to support humanities programming in The College of Arts and Sciences. The symposium is named for the Auburn, N.Y., native who was a highly respected teacher and administrator.




Visiting Artist: Rani Jha

In conjunction with the symposium, Rani Jha (above) will spend nine days at SU, conducting workshops and discussing her paintings. A feminist from rural India, she uses her artwork to raise awareness of social justice issues for women. To schedule a personal appointment or class visit with Jha, contact Emera Bridger Wilson at 315-443-2553 or elbridge@syr.edu.
--------------
Hard copies of the exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase at the Conference registration desk (see schedule) or online at http://www.mithilapaintings-eaf.org/traveling_exhibition.html