Haven’t made it to see Yoga: The Art of Transformation? After NYC and San Francisco, the exhibit is now at its third and final venue, the Cleveland Museum of Art. Whether you’ve had the pleasure of visiting or not, curators of the Smithsonian have put in some effort so we can experience the historical retrospective from the comforts of our computers and/or devices, having released all of the lectures for free online and now posting up podcasts from Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art.
There are 12 episodes (14 tracks including intro and outro) describing various pieces and sections in the exhibit and the stories behind them. It’s an interesting listen, even if a lot of the beginning episodes have Sonya Rhie Quintanilla trying out her best “yoga voice.”
The exhibit will be up through Sunday, September 7, 2014. Here’s more about it via the Cleveland Museum of Art website:
Today, there are numerous types of yoga and a wide array of goals ranging from improved physical fitness to ultimate religious salvation. Works of art in the exhibition reveal that in ancient India, there were also many groups who practiced different forms of yoga for the sake of achieving a wide range of goals, both worldly and salvific. Groups of practitioners disagreed on the degree of physical discipline and self-mortification that was necessary to reach enlightenment, which would result, upon death, in final liberation from the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth that are fundamental to the Indic worldview.
In the exhibition, you will see how yogis became romantic characters in literary works and among the documentary paintings and engravings made for European audiences. By the 19th and early 20th centuries, when India was under British rule, stereotypes of yogis entered the popular imagination through photography and film. The last section of Yoga: The Art of Transformation lays out the rapid changes that took place in the decades leading up to Independence that laid the foundations for modern yoga as has become mainstream today.
Have you seen the exhibit? What did you think?