The first of its kind, this two-month long exhibition was launched in Singapore in which Vishnu is the focus. The Hindu deity’s popularity in South and S.E. Asia is highlighted in this effort, curated by Nalina Gopal, assistant curator with the Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore.
The exhibition, ‘Adoring Vishnu’ (November 10 -January 6), is being held at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, in the heart of ‘Little India’ area.
Supported by the Hindu Endowment Board, Singapore, thematic insights into Vaishnavism are well displayed – the holy centres of Badrinath, Puri, Tirupati, Guruvayur and Srirangam are artistically shown in four beautiful pictures each, mounted on revolving cubes.
Large visuals form backdrops. Animated Krishna, Dwarapalas at Tirukallam, scenes from Cambodia, Bali, Prambanan, and cut-out images of the Dasavathara in Kondapalli style are arresting.
Images of priceless old objects and jewels for the deity used in worship, housed in national museums in Singapore, familiarise the viewer with daily temple ritual items. On loan from the temple is the resplendent utsavamurthi of Vishnu, who is sitting on Garuda and both have been beautifully dressed by Srinivasa Bhattar, the chief priest of the temple.
The interactive section is drawing delighted visitors to the six large mounted TV screens, where images of Narada, Tyagaraja, Kabir, Annamayya, Purandaradasa, Meera, Surdas and Narayana react to the flashing of the signs of the lotus or conch and the saint composers’ music plays in response. The last screen comes alive with the vision of Narayana and if questions are asked answers are given.
The activity corner has jigsaw puzzles, colouring stencil images and a well-brought out activity booklet – 10,000 copies of which have been printed as that is the number of visitors expected for the show. Joyful children spend quality time there, while adults sit and read the tales of Vishnu in the Amar Chitra Katha comics kept handy, after looking at the displays.
The exhibition was inaugurated by K. Rajandeeran, the chairman of the Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple on Serangoon Road. Dignitaries such as Gopinath Pillai, S. Rajendran, chairman of the Hindu Endowment Board, and senior curator and director of the IHC Dr. Gauri Krishnan felt a keen sense of pride at Singapore’s sense of heritage. Locals, tourists and regular visitors to the temple are flocking to the exhibition, where entry and activity booklets are free.