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Museum of Fine Arts in Houston Opens Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Arts of India Gallery
Indian Shiva Nataraja, 13th century, Bronze. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; gift of Carol and Robert Straus, 73.77.

HOUSTON, TX.- The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston opens a new permanent gallery in the Caroline Wiess Law Building dedicated to the museum´s growing Indian art collection. The Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Arts of India Gallery introduces audiences to the richness of traditional Indian art and bridges the past with the present by also including modern and contemporary examples.

The only space in Houston devoted to Indian arts and culture, this gallery features outstanding examples of painting, sculpture, and photography spanning more than 2,500 years of cultural history. Approximately 100 artworks are presented, transcending time and geographical boundaries. Framing the objects though the historical context of the great Empires of India, the gallery offers educational didactics and labels emphasizing the global trade contacts of ancient and medieval India that continue today.

Among the ancient works on display are the extraordinary grey schist, 2nd—3rd century Bodhisattva from ancient Gandhara (now Pakistan); the beautiful 6th-century, Gupta period sandstone sculpture depicting the Hindu goddess Sarasvati; and two spectacular bronze sculptures from the Chola dynasty: an 11th-century Parvati and 13th-century Shiva Nataraja. The rich and diverse genres of Indian painting are also represented. Works from a number of different regions depict varied scenes, from the daily life of the Mughal court to tales from the ancient, epic books of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

A great range of modern and contemporary works explores the current art scene in India, which is informed by the political, economic, social, and physical landscape. Visitors will see a sculpture by Subodh Gupta on loan from a private collection as well as MFAH works from established and emergent contemporary artists, such as photographs by Dayanita Singh and an installation work by Shilpa Gupta.

The museum plans to increase its collection of Indian art significantly, and the Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Arts of India Gallery is pivotal to this development. By expanding the number of works exhibited together, the museum is better able to identify the need for particular acquisitions and strengthen the collection as a whole. Through this ambitious initiative, the MFAH is poised to become a preeminent center in the United States for the study and appreciation of Indian art.

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