If you're looking for something to do, take a trip to the New Orleans Museum of Art. Among its exhibits, you will find several religious-themed exhibitions.
Two of the exhibits are from the collections of Siddharth Bhansali, a physician based in New Orleans. Both exhibits are scheduled through June 20.
In its “Arte Sacra: Roman Catholic Art from Portuguese India” exhibition, NOMA is displaying pieces created by Hindus and Christian converts in India.
While Christianity entered India in the first century, brought there by the Apostle Thomas, tradition says, it wasn’t until the 16th century that European Christianity reached India.
These Christians included Francis Xavier, founder of the Jesuit order, and other missionaries.
The Europeans brought art with them to use in missionary work. And artists in India began producing pieces used in churches in India or even shipped back to Europe.
Next to the Christian art from India is “The Pursuit of Salvation: Jain Art from India.”
The exhibit focuses on the Jina or Spiritual Victor, which is the base word for the name of the religion.
Jainism, a nontheistic religion, is similar to Buddhism. It started in India in the 6th century and is still practiced.
The religion holds there is a soul that needs to escape the effects of karma and thus successive lives by achieving enlightenment. Devotion to an ascetic lifestyle, avoiding passion and attachments, helps one achieve perfection and avoid injury to living creatures.
The 24 Jinas served as omniscient spiritual teachers and organizers.
In some pieces the Jinas can be identified by their hair or symbols put in the art. Jain art depicts them in yoga poses, either in a standing pose or in a seated meditation pose. The standing pose is a way to dismiss the body, one of their ascetic acts.
Religious themes can be found in other exhibits. One standout was the collection of Christian crosses from Ethiopia in the museum’s African collection. The exhibit also has artifacts from tribal beliefs.
High Holy Days
The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are in September.
A coalition of 24 Jewish groups has released a guide to help congregations host High Holy Day services virtually. A goal of the guide is to help make the services accessible to all, including those with disabilities and people who don’t have access to technology.
Visit respectability.org/high-holidays-2020/ to download the guide.
Source: noma.org, news release