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Journey to the Sacred Mountain of Cambodia”

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A journey across three continents over 1,500 years arrives at the National Mall in Washington, DC. On view at the Smithsonian’s NMAA through September 18.

“Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan after the 2020 restoration (detail)” (c.600, southern Cambodia, Takeo Province, Phnom Da), sandstone, 203.1 x 68 x 55.5 cm (Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund, 1973.106 (photo courtesy Cleveland Museum of Art)

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 multi-religious landscape and literally embedded in a mountain. The life story of this sculptural masterpiece spans 1,500 years and spans three continents, with the newly restored Krishna unveiled through the integration of art, immersive video installations and an interactive design National Museum of Asian Art (NMAA).

satook, word of blessing pronounced at the end of the Cambodian prayers, is also the title of an original short film included in the exhibition. Directed by famous Cambodian American filmmaker praCh Ly, satook center for intimate conversations with survivors and 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 complexity of religion in different locations in the United States.

Reveal Krishna is a themed exhibition featuring the recently restored ‘Krishna Lifting Mountain Govardhan’, undertaken by the curatorial staff of the Cleveland Museum of Art and funded by a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Fund. This project was made possible thanks to a cooperation 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 devotiona five-year initiative at NMAA dedicated to advancing civic discourse and understanding religion, made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc.

To learn more, visit asia.si.edu.

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