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Artful Animals of South and Southeast Asia Comes to BAMPFA

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For their next upcoming exhibition, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) brings forth the art of South and Southeast Asia. Titled The Elephant’s Eye, the works evokes the art of animals, and how their roles as clever tricksters and religious informants are portrayed in everything from paintings to drawings.

BAMPFA will feature thirty works of art in this exhibition. They all hail from India, Thailand, and Cambodia, and each of them showcase the various ways the animals (which will include leopards, tigers, snakes, horses, cows, and of course elephants), represents religion, politics, culture, and history. For example, the elephant was normally portrayed as symbols of wisdom and success, and were deployed as props for wealth and power.

These featured works are bound to give visitors an opportunity to discover the artful representations of what the animals could be suggesting, and even be surprised in discoveries in the smallest details and gestures (such as a glimmer of light in a elephant’s eye). A sample of what is to be expected in this exhibition can be seen on BAMPFA’s website at It is a 17th century gouache on paper from India titled Vishnu and Garuda Saving the King of the Elephants. An Elephant’s Eye is on view until June 29th.


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