Kama Sutra: A feminine perspective

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New Delhi: Indian erotic art — sculptures, literature, poems, paintings and sketches — sourced from museums and private art collectors across the world is being assembled into an exhibition, which aims to look afresh at the Kama Sutra through a woman’s perspective.

Put together by art consultant and curator Alka Pande, the exhibition titled “The Kama Sutra, Spirituality and Eroticism in Indian Art,” is scheduled to be shown in Paris for a period of six months beginning October 2 this year.

French Ambassador Francois Richier made the announcement today at his residence here.
“Far from being a text on pornography or sexology, the ancient Sanskrit text ‘Kama Sutra’ by Vatsayan is about a great way of urban living, of balance in life, of joy which comes through celebration of sensuality and desire,” says Pande.

Pande is being assisted by art historian Marc Restellini, who is currently in the country to prepare the groundwork for the project, set to be displayed at the Pinacotheque de Paris museum of which he is the founder.

Over 300 works collected from museums like the Reitberg (Zurich), Musee Guimet (Paris) and the Cinquanternaire Museum (Royal Musuems of Art and History, Brussels) are in the show.

“From temples to durbars with iconic figure of the courtesan, the spirituality and the aesthetics of erotic is evidence everywhere in India,” says Pande.

Among the exhibits on display is a selection of 15 sculptures on loan from the City Palace Museum in Udaipur under the custodian of Arvind Singh Mewar of the Mewar dynasty.

“These sculptures which are going to be up for display have never been seen by public and are sculptures of the most sensual male and female bodies. There are celestial beauties or Surasundaries also which can be ascribed to 7th century AD to the 14th century AD,” says Arvind Singh.

Folk and tribal sculptures from West Bengal, Odissa and other places in India and ancient literature and poems by women in premodern India and men during the Bakthi movement are set to be juxtaposed together. MORE PTI DBL ANS ANS 04301830

Pande says, “I brought up in a very traditional way. Since my first writing on Indian erotica in 2001, I have written five or six interpretations of the Kama Sutra and have got that freedom to express my self. The exhibition is a feminine perspective not a feminist perspective.”

The curator has been exploring the frontier of love, desire, longing, sexuality and genders in her many books which include “Indian Erotica” (2002); “The New Age Kamasutra for women” (2008) and “Leela, An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (2009).

A recital by Bharatnatyam dancer Laxmi Viswanathan is included in the upcoming exhibition.

“Viswanathan has also written a book on India’s last living courtesan of Tamil Nadu and we are trying to include a music performance too. The exhibition will also shed a fresh fresh perspective on the concept of the third gender, which was also a part of the Kama Sutra,” says Pande.

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