‘Anandam: Collages by MG Raffic Ahamed’ at the Dishman
The Dishman Art Museum on the campus of Lamar University will host “Anandam: Collages by MG Raffic Ahamed,” opening Oct. 28. The word “anandam,” or bliss, refers to the creative process that inspires Indian artist Raffic to create his richly colorful collages. The exhibition of four dozen multi-media collages will run through Nov. 23.
Raffic has exhibited throughout India and internationally, but this is only his second exhibition in the U.S. He works extensively with collage, and his art is included in a number of international collections. In 2008, he received the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, which allowed him to establish a studio in the South Indian city of Madurai.
“Raffic’s works are multilayered compositions, painstakingly composed yet visually stunning in their rich color and layers of detail,” said Jessica M. Dandona, director of the Dishman Art Museum. “His collages blend realism and fantasy, employing fragments from photographs of real people and places to create an evocative dream world. Some of the themes addressed in his work include the tension between tradition and modernity in contemporary India, the diversity of religious traditions practiced on the subcontinent, and the status of women in Indian society.”
In honor of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, the Dishman Art Museum will have Indian-inspired refreshments and guest DJs playing world music at the opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28.
Jason Miller and Matthew Myers, co-hosts of KVLU’s “Space Capsule” will present a cross-selection of contemporary Indian music at the reception. “Space Capsule,” which focuses on the “vast genres of electronic music,” airs at 11 p.m. on Friday and 8 p.m. on Sunday on 91.3 KVLU.
One week after the opening reception, Amy L. Allocco, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies at Elon University in North Carolina will present a guest lecture on themes in Raffic’s art titled "Visual Language, Architecture, and Memory in the Collages of a Contemporary Tamil Muslim Artist."
“As a scholar of the religions of India who is keenly interested in visual culture, I find Raffic's work intensely provocative,” said Allocco. “In particular, I am repeatedly struck by the ways that his collages grapple with India's religious diversity. It is also clear to me that Raffic's aesthetic sensibilities are informed by an abiding fascination with architectural forms and structures, which find their way into almost all of his collages. Additionally, Raffic uses his chosen medium as a “visual language” for critiquing patriarchal structures and particular gender expectations in contemporary India and for conveying the ways in which he thinks these norms sometimes render Indian women voiceless.”
Allocco’s lecture, which will be followed by a reception, will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in the Rothwell Recital Hall in the Music Building. Admission to the reception, guest lecture and exhibition is free.
The Dishman Art Museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is located at 1030 E. Lavaca, Beaumont, Texas. Free museum-dedicated parking is available in front of the Dishman during museum hours. Call (409) 880-8959 for more information or visit lamar.edu/dishman.