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Rich in c olor and infused with stories both ancient and new\, Mithila paintings from the central state of Bihar in India arrive in Los Angeles this spring. Fro m ancient Hindu deities Siva and Rama to the tragic events of 9/11 and the East Asian Tsunami\, Mithila painters convey their unique perspective in vi vid detail. Organized by the California-based Ethnic Arts Foundation\, esta blished in 1980 to support and promote Mithila painting\, this exhibit illu strates the extraordinary development of this unique art form. “While the M ithila painting tradition has maintained a remarkable vitality\, it is diff icult for the mostly women painters\, living in poor rural communities\, to travel and gain recognition for their work\,” says David Szanton\, EAF Pre sident\, “They are therefore thrilled that CAFAM will be exhibiting their p aintings to audiences in Southern California.”

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Wall and floor paintings that reflect life cycles and domestic rituals have been a long-standing tradition in th e Mithila region of India. Centered in the state of Bihar\, Mithila is an a ncient cultural region of Indian civilization known for a wealth of diverse artistic production. British colonial official William Archer first discov ered the intricate beauty of Mithila painting in 1934 when he was documenti ng the aftermath of a major earthquake. Archer's photography of the exquisi te\, yet ephemeral paintings\, prompted officials to encourage painting on paper as a means to supplement meager family income in the aftermath of a d evastating drought in 1966. As Mithila painters embraced working on paper\, word of their vibrant works spread throughout the country and have now ach ieved international acclaim.

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Contemporary Mithila paintings reflect a shift in subject matter from ancie nt epics and local legends to include national and international politics a s well as personal narratives. For example\, painter Shalinee Kumari's Wome n can do everything depicts women in a variety of powerful roles - from cl imbing mountains to working in science labs - against energetic swatches of yellow and red. In Tsunami in Sri Lanka\, Amrita Das renders the chaos and heartbreak of the 2004 tsunami in sweeping lines of black and red ink. Mit hila paintings reflect a uniquely modern Indian aesthetic that values vibra nt colors\, fine details\, and lush storytelling.

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The commercial success of Mithila paintings has also raised th e status of its women artists and the general economy of the Bihar state. A ncient Gods and Modern Politics traces the extraordinary development of thi s artwork that encompasses ritual art\, folk art\, and contemporary art.

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DTEND:20090913 DTSTAMP:20140421T064628 DTSTART:20090411 GEO:34.062177;-118.3555702 LOCATION:Craft and Folk Art Museum\,5814 Wilshire Blvd. \nLos Angeles\, CA 90036 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Ancient Gods and Modern Politics: Mithila Painting UID:47892 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20090418T210000 DTSTAMP:20140421T064628 DTSTART:20090418T180000 GEO:34.062177;-118.3555702 LOCATION:Craft and Folk Art Museum\,5814 Wilshire Blvd. \nLos Angeles\, CA 90036 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Ancient Gods and Modern Politics: Mithila Painting UID:47893 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR