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Painted Songs and Stories features the works of eight contemporary artists belonging to a tribal clan of Central India, the Pardhan Gonds, who traditionally serve as professional bardic priests. Starting in the early 1980s, certain talented Pardhan Gonds began transforming their ritual performing arts into a new tradition of figurative and narrative visual art: using a variety of modern media (including acrylic paintings on canvas, ink drawings on paper, silkscreen prints, and animated film) they have created unprecedented depictions of their natural and mythological worlds, traditional songs and oral histories. Rich in detail, color, mystery and humor, these artworks brilliantly employ modern means to evoke the pre-modern psyche. The exhibition, organized by the Wellesley College South Asia Studies Program, features selected works from the private collection of guest curator John H. Bowles.
The exhibition and its programs have been funded by the Davis Fund for World Cultures, the US Department of Education, and the Wellesley College Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events.