THE EYE ON VISUAL ARTS
Saturday 07 June 1997
Celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani Independence get under way at the Whitechapel this month with "Krishna: The Divine Lover", an exhibition of more than 100 miniatures depicting the life and loves of that most popular of South Asian deities.
Krishna is a Hindu God which makes the Whitechapel, in the heart of London's Muslim community, a curious choice of venue, but it's a fascinating and very beautiful exhibition which transcends the specifics of religion. The works date from the 16th century to the early 20th, but aside from a little wear and tear, there's little to tell them apart. This is a timeless art, the scenes from Krishna's life painted with exquisite details and dazzling colour in a tradition that has never needed modernising.
Krishna appears in them all: his legendary blue body clothed, or at least partly clothed, in yellow silk. He is depicted in all his guises as soldier, statesman, cowherd, poet, adventurer, philosopher, practical joker and above all as a bit of a ladies' man - a sensual and romantic lover who. according to "Krishna and the Gapis", a fantastic little picture dating from 1800, had the advantage over mortal men of being able to multiply himself to satisfy more than one woman at a time. He was clearly a seductive character and the story of his life makes a very seductive exhibition.
One of the best known English collectors of these beautiful pictures is the painter Howard Hodgkin. He will visit the Whitechapel to talk about the works that have meant most to him at 6.30pm on 3 July. The exhibition will tour to Huddersfield, Sheffield and Brighton.
EYE ON THE NEW
The De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea, designed by Mendelsohn and Chermayeff in 1933, is one of the finest modernist buildings in the country. From today until 27 July it hosts an exhibition of Garry Fabian Miller's Photographic Works 1975-95. It is an irresistible combination. (Information 01424 787900.)
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