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Indian Contemporary Art Exhibition
A First for the AGO

 Toronto - This summer, for the first time in the Gallery’s history, the AGO will present a stunning exhibition of contemporary art from India. Hungry God features some of the most innovative and exciting artists practicing today.

Opening June 23 and continuing until October 7, Hungry God showcases several leading Indian artists – including Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Jitish Kallat and Subodh Gupta – who work in a variety of media. As members of three different generations, these artists have seen India emerge from colonialism and become a world economic and cultural power. With India also rapidly becoming a global hotbed for contemporary art, these artists are at the forefront of that movement with their explorations of issues of globalization, nationalism, class and identity through works ranging from delicate painted miniatures to large-scale installation pieces. Hungry God was originally shown at the Arario Gallery in Beijing, China.

"Indian contemporary art is becoming a global sensation and this exhibition showcases the most spectacular work from this vibrant region," says Bruce Ferguson, AGO director of Exhibitions and Publications. "These artists are pushing boundaries and exploring new ideas while maintaining a link to their country’s rich history."

While each work in Hungry God is unique, every piece maintains a sense of playfulness in the way it explores serious issues and incorporates traditional religious and cultural icons. For example, Itch, scratch, raw by Bharti Kher appears at first glance to be a group of abstract paintings; up close the work is revealed to be made up of hundreds of bindis, the dot traditionally worn on the forehead by Indian women for spiritual purposes or to denote marital status.

Other important works in the exhibition include Atul Dodiya’s Fallen Leaves – A Stroll, which features a series of iconic images of Indian culture, such as a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, intricately painted on dried leaves; as well as Subodh Gupta’s Everything is Inside, a bronze sculptural work assembled on the top portion of an everyday Indian taxi.

This is the first-ever exhibition at the AGO to present work from India. One of North America’s largest South Asian populations resides in Toronto, and Hungry God is evidence of the AGO’s commitment to reflecting the diversity of the local community in its programming.

"Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, and the transformed AGO will not only offer a more culturally diverse collection, but will set out to provide a range of exhibitions that reflects the city’s population," says Ferguson.

Hungry God is organized by Mary Dinaburg and Howard Rutkowski of Fortune Cookie Projects in association with the Arario Gallery in Beijing, China.

Hungry God is one of five exhibitions comprising the AGO’s extraordinary summer lineup. Also on view June 23 is the recently acquired Bernini sculpture Corpus, 35 medieval and Renaissance treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and an exhibition of some 45 works by Chuck Close that includes daguerreotypes and large-scale portraits accompanied by poetry. The final component of the AGO’s summer lineup, opening July 18, is an exhibition of the recently repatriated Dundas Collection, which features 38 First Nations works of art that range from decorative masks to everyday objects.

This distinct offering allows audiences to engage in various art experiences for one ticketed price of $15, before the reopening of the transformed AGO in 2008.


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