Kandyan Chief circa 1880-1890
Exhibition dates: 9 December 2018 – 23 June 2019
The first comprehensive survey of Sri Lankan art organised by an American museum, The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka presents some 240 works addressing nearly two millennia of Sri Lankan history.
The image of a bejewelled isle, first invoked in Greco-Roman accounts of Sri Lanka’s precious gems, inspired numerous literary descriptions of the island’s wealth and tropical beauty. The Jeweled Isle includes precious decorative objects fashioned from gold, silver, and ivory, and 19th-century photographs documenting Sri Lanka’s extraordinary monuments, scenery, and flora. Several artworks convey the importance of sacred sites and relics in Sri Lankan Buddhist practice, while rare images of Hindu gods attest to the long and constant interaction between Sri Lanka and South India.
Exquisite ivories, textiles, and furnishings further reflect nearly four centuries of European colonial presence in Sri Lanka and the dynamic interaction between local and foreign visual traditions. Featuring LACMA’s rarely displayed collection of Sri Lankan art—one of the finest and most extensive in the U.S.—the exhibition presents a timely exploration and celebration of a geographically complex, ethnically diverse, and multicultural South Asian hub.
An oil lamp lighting ceremony, followed by traditional Sri Lankan dances and drumming to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, will take place at 10:00 on Sunday December 16 in the Smidt Welcome Plaza. The event will feature performances by the Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts and Thath Jith Dance Company.
A comprehensive overview of this exhibition, with a lot of interesting background information can be found on the Asian Art website.
Exhibition location: Resnick Pavilion, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.