I have always had mixed feelings about the art and trade fairs that pop up like mushrooms in Chicago and its suburbs, in fact all over the country, every summer. On one side, I am proud of the tradition and the cultural heritage they offer to their audience,but on the other hand I am frustrated by the overwhelming corporate presence in them.
The Indian sub-continent had a very rich tradition of miniature painting that was not only tied to kings, queens and lords of different kingdoms of the Indian sub-continent, but also had a strong connection with the architectural forms of the temples, mosques, palaces, and courtyards of the region.
Among these three representations of Shiva in The Art Institute of Chicago, Natraja is the most significant. One’s attention is drawn not only to its form but also to the symbolism it contains. This piece of sculpture is from the Chola Dynasty that ruled southern India from 800 to 1279 C.E. It is a brilliant icon and probably one of the best representations of Hindu art.
Art Education? Why? This question is an important one for a society in which there is much to be done toward the appreciation and teaching of art. Is it really a waste of time for our students? Is it a subject that just tears them away for forty-five to fifty minutes from their core subjects? Or is it a subject that provides our students with some specific skills?