All Aboard for Artistic Freedom

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Rickshaw Lobby_action shot

An Indian rickshaw, with poetic verses painted around its rear window, passes through the Ackland’s lobby.

Museums are often surprising places and last Thursday morning was no exception. For a few moments, a rickshaw was in the front lobby of the Ackland. It arrived as part of the forthcoming exhibition The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989. Bright red and decorated with hand-painted Hindi script on the back, it represents the beginning of an extraordinary season of art at the Ackland. It suggests the journey of art and ideas—across streets, across countries, oceans, and political boundaries—as artists challenge and delight us with their opinions and expressions. The Sahmat Collective will offer many visual surprises, but perhaps more importantly, it asks us to consider how to advance freedom in our own communities.

In the catalogue for this exhibition (available at the Ackland Museum Store), Jessica Moss writes:

While fomenting discussion and activism around politically charged topics, the Delhi-based collective [Sahmat] catalyzes the production and display of artworks to advance artistic freedom…

At the Ackland, in addition to presenting works of art from around the world, we also create opportunities for surprise and delight, for questions and answers, for “free and open inquiry.” I hope that you will join us for this journey and tweet about what you see (@AcklandArt, #Sahmat), follow us on Facebook, or send us an email.

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