History and art come together in the Center for Puppetry Arts’ newest exhibit, Indian Puppets: The Great Stories and Dancing Dolls, opening November 14. The special exhibit will celebrate India’s cultural range by exploring the diversity of puppetry techniques and genres across the subcontinent along with the ways puppetry has been used as a storytelling tool in India for more than a thousand years.
“One of the main reasons we chose to highlight Indian puppetry is because, in addition to more historical puppetry traditions, India also has a thriving contemporary arts community with puppeteers creating engaging new work,” says Center for Puppetry Arts’ Museum Director Kelsey Fritz. “Puppetry in India is incredibly diverse and each region of the country has performance traditions and stories specific to their area. We hope that by learning about these different puppetry traditions, visitors will walk away with a better understanding of Indian culture and geography as a whole.”
The exhibit is comprised of more than 40 puppets on display including both traditional and contemporary pieces, covering eight different puppetry styles. The puppets will be displayed as if they were being used in a performance so visitors can get a sense for the mobility and personality of each piece.
This exhibit is sponsored in part by the Consulate General of India Atlanta and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and will be on display through July 15, 2018.
The Center will be celebrating the run of the exhibit with a number of special events. To kick off opening weekend, November 18-19, Museum hours will be extended until 7 p.m. and the weekend will include a special performance of Kalyana Sougandhikam by Natana Kairali of Kerala, India at 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The story is from the Mahabharata and is performed with traditional Indian glove puppetry.
On Saturday, January 20, 2018, the Center presents Celebration of India Family Day! The event will include special activities to celebrate Indian puppetry and culture, including a reading of “The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk” and book signing with author Sue Sehgal as well as puppet building, special gallery programs and more!
The Center presents a special movie night on Saturday, February 3, 2018. In addition to the screening of Tomorrow We Disappear, a documentary about Kathputli, India’s colony of artists and puppeteers facing eviction, there will be a talkback with one of the film’s directors following the film at 8 pm.
Finally, on March 26, 2018, Dr. Kathy Foley and Karen Smith, the curators of Indian Puppets: The Great Stories and Dancing Dolls, will visit the Center for an in-depth lecture about the puppetry of India, part of the Explore Puppetry Workshop Series from 7-9 p.m.
Entrance to this special exhibit will be included with regular Museum admission, which is free for Members and $12.50 for nonmembers – plus sales tax and includes access to the entire Worlds of Puppetry Museum (with the largest collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts in the world as well as a Global Gallery.) Admission to the special exhibit will also be included with all-inclusive tickets to Family Series and New Directions Series performances.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.puppet.org or by calling 404.873.3391.