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Discover Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles, Patron Saint of Writers & Artists

June 7, 2009

I  LOVE this image of Ganesh. Not sure what is about Ganesh, but there’s something there, some chemistry, some magic, some connection. Ganesha even showed up in one my my 3:15am experiment poems: Gamesh (aka Ganesha) 315 Experiment Poem: Aug 6, 2007

So I wasn’t surprised when I learned more and found out Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles and the Patron Saint for writers and artists.

On a previous trip to India, my Iyengar style yoga teacher Bryan Legere of the Ventura Yoga Studio brought several wonderful art pieces, including a wooden carving of Ganesh (which he won’t sell me) and an amazing silver and bronze sculpture which he will sell me if I want to part with $750. That’s a big obstacle!

You can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that there’s a show up now through Sept. 20  in the Los Angelese region featuring Ganesha which provides an amazing opportunity to learn more about Ganesha and the Hindi traditions around Ganesha.  I am hoping to go see the show next Saturday!

According to the following article from the LA Times, ‘Discovering Ganesha’ trumpets a Hindu tradition | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times.

The Hindu god Ganesha is known by more than 1,000 names, including Ganapati, Vinayaka and Pillaiyar, but he is best known as the Remover of Obstacles, the Patron of the Arts and the Lord of Wisdom. So it’s only fitting that the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena is presenting an exhibition examining one of Hinduism’s most revered deities — and is doing so after significant obstacles had to be removed.

Discovering Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles” features works from multimedia artist Shana Dressler and photographer Sudharak Olwe as well as objects from the Pacific Asia Museum and Norton Simon collections.

Ganesha In 2004, the New York-based Dressler traveled to Mumbai, India, to record the Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day festival held annually from late August to early September honoring the elephant-headed god. (The origins of Ganesha date to about AD 300 to 500 in Southeast Asia.)

The festival commences with the making of a Ganesha statue, varying in size from three-quarters of an inch to more than 25 feet high, installed on raised platforms in homes or temporary outdoor temples. A priest conducts rituals while followers offer flowers and food to the idol and sing and dance. The last day culminates with a procession escorting the statue to the nearest body of water, where it’s immersed and released, symbolizing a journey toward Ganesha’s abode on Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

“We were fascinated by the images and how they portrayed the same tradition being celebrated for 700 years,” curator Yeonsoo Chee said. “They show how the tradition is evolving into something contemporary and how it is not something static but dynamic and moving forward.”

As for the obstacles the small-scale exhibition faced, Chee said budget cuts had threatened the opening of the show, which runs through Sept. 20. But volunteers in South Asian communities in  Orange and Los Angeles counties, including Pasadena, banded together to raise $8,000 to keep the exhibit on the museum’s schedule.

— Liesl Bradner

Photos: Two images from Shana Dressler’s series in the show “Discovering Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles.” Credit: Shana Dressler

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2009 6:57 pm

    Ganesh! I mean what could be more appropriate than an elephant to symbolize a deity who removes obstacles…?

    Or to have a patron for writers who literally broke off one of his tusk to write many of the most significant texts of the Hindu’s.

    I share your fondness for this one, for my 50th birthday, I gave each of my guest a small Ganesh, each one was different…glass, wood, brass, copper, resin and so on…



  2. June 9, 2009 2:36 am

    Hmmm…some spiritual semantics displacement? Elegguá/Eshú from the Yoruba cosmology– & Santería & Candomble syncretism– is ‘he who opens & closes all paths’, identified cross-culturally with trickster figures like Coyote & Hermes, who rule over transitional space & times– twilight, thresholds & gateways, rites of passage…more darkly identified with Satan in Christianity, as Ruler of the Crossroads…

  3. June 9, 2009 4:56 am

    Patron of writers and removers of obstacles, very appropriate. I think I shall have meditate on the elephant today, I have a brain obstacle about writing that feels like it needs an elephant to move it.

  4. Rajan R permalink
    June 19, 2009 7:04 am

    want to see some of my lord ganeshjii sketches u can visit my blog


  5. August 22, 2009 3:36 pm

    Thanks so much, Rajan, for putting your link here so we can see your wonderful drawings! And for the Lord Ganesh on a bike drawings which we are going to use to promote cycling!


  1. Poetry from the 3:15 Experiment August 5, 2009: It’s LORD Ganesha « art predator

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