Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain transports visitors to a sacred mountain in the floodplains of southern Cambodia. Visitors will encounter a monumental sculpture of the Hindu god Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan to protect his people from a torrential storm sent by an angry god. For the first time in modern history, the sculpture is explored in the context of its original environment, as part of a multireligious landscape and quite literally built into a mountain. The life story of this sculptural masterpiece spans 1,500 years and three continents, with the newly restored Krishna unveiled through the integration of art, immersive video installations, and interactive design at the National Museum of Asian Art (NMAA).
Satook, a word of blessing spoken at the end of Cambodian prayers, is also the title of an original short film included in the exhibition. Directed by the renowned Cambodian American filmmaker praCh Ly, Satook centers intimate conversations with survivors and the diaspora of the Khmer Rouge genocide as they share their personal experiences and memories of their parents, and reflect on their communities and journeys of belief. The film also examines the contemporary meanings of ancient sacred sites in Cambodia and considers the diversity and complexities of religion in different locations in the United States.
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Revealing Krishna is a focus exhibition featuring the recently restored “Krishna Lifting Mountain Govardhan,” undertaken by the Cleveland Museum of Art conservation staff and funded by a grant from Bank of America Art Conservation Fund. This project was made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and in collaboration with the National Museum of Cambodia.
The show is part of The Arts of Devotion, a five-year initiative at NMAA dedicated to furthering civic discourse and the understanding of religion, made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc.
To learn more, visit asia.si.edu.