IFAM presents Santa Fe teacher, author, and photographer Josh Schrei for an evening of slide imagery and discussion centered around the rich devotional art found in the mother goddess traditions of the Indian subcontinent.
The event will feature projected slides, a discussion on the mythology behind the imagery, and a sale of prints of Schrei’s work. Proceeds generated from the event will benefit the International Folk Art Market, whose mission is to create economic opportunities for and with folk artists worldwide who celebrate and preserve folk art traditions.
The Indian subcontinent holds the largest uninterrupted tradition of mother goddess worship on the planet. The use of a totemic image, or pindi, to represent the goddess in these traditions dates back almost certainly to the paleolithic era. The pindi is usually a simple stone or heap of earth or gnarled tree root that is elaborately adorned. When streams of templegoers add their own personal offerings to the pindi, the end result is a living work of art, a breathing, shifting canvas that changes even as the object at the center stays the same.
This unique living art form, which Schrei considers to be a heritage folk art of India, can only be captured through photography. Schrei has been documenting these devotional totems to the mother goddess, and the beautiful vibrant offerings that surround them, for the past decade, and has lectured on the subject internationally.
The rich and vibrant photographs serve to explore and document a worldview in which art, aesthetic, devotion, revelation, and environment are inseparable from one another. The sites of mother goddess worship in India are part of a network that are said to be the body of the goddess herself. At these sites, offering becomes an interactive exercise. Each participant contributes to the creation of the art and interacts with it — lathering images in butter, smearing them in vermillion powder, bathing them in milk, draping them in flowers. In this way art becomes not something to gaze at from a comfortable distance but the very matrix in which human experience takes place.
In this day and age, Schrei says, to show such tactile imagery is a deliberate provocation — an attempt to return the viewer to richer inner geographies, places within the mind and heart that drip, teem, and overflow.
An avid photographer, teacher, and lifelong student of Indian tradition, Joshua Michael Schrei lectures internationally on the aesthetics of the Indian temple experience and Indian goddess traditions. Locally, he has shown his work at Cruz Gallery and JFD Gallery and has lectured at the Center for Contemporary Arts.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
International Folk Art Market Center
620 Cerrillos Road Santa Fe, NM 87505
6:00 pm – 7:30pm
Free for IFAM Community members
Nonmembers $12 admission
Photographic prints for sale