Women and Deities’ is a unique exhibition. For the first time ever, this entire display of antiquities from the prehistoric to the medieval period has been culled from the reserve collection of the Bihar Museum. All the 166 exhibits consisting of a total of 156 works in terracotta, bronze, and stone, miniature paintings, and ten contemporary art works show an unbroken tradition of 2,000 years of the representation of women in Indian art through the ages. These 156 traditional art objects have never been displayed at the Bihar Museum, which was set up in 2015. The eight contemporary paintings and two sculptures have been carefully added to bring viewers right up to present times.
The exhibition attempts to show the many manifestations of women in different materials, through different periods in time and additional stylistic attributes, beginning with the earliest terracotta figurine going back to 2nd century CE, to the Ganga created by the contemporary artist Jayasri Burman in bronze in 2011. The creative imagination of the artists, combined with the mastery of the medium, resulted in the production of some of the finest sculptures and the most beautiful paintings.
The range of women in the plastic arts of India spans a large cross-section of the country’s society and culture. From princesses to heroines, from goddesses to devotees, the many forms and manifestations of the feminine form are celebrated in this collection. What is interesting is that the art displayed in this exhibition is special because it primarily belongs to the region and therefore maps the zeitgeist in a linear narrative, an important and valuable pointer to art’s historical development.
From the sacred to the popular, the ‘Women and Deities’ exhibition has been specially curated in the Bihar Museum to represent the beauty, grace, adornment, and power of women themselves.
Most importantly, the exhibition is dedicated to the spectacular women of Bihar who are the engine drivers of change, transformation, and development.
Dr. Alka Pande