Exhibition on the Visual History of Yoga

Opening Oct. 19 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, “Yoga: The Art of Transformation”—claimed to be the world’s first exhibi­tion about the discipline’s visual history—will reveal its meanings and histories over the past 2,000 years.

“The Art of Transformation,” on view through Jan. 26, 2014, explores yoga’s philosophies and its goals of transforming body and consciousness, its importance within multiple religious and secular arenas, and the varied roles that yogis played in society, from sages to spies.

To support the exhibition, the museum is launching the Smithsonian’s first major crowdfunding campaign May 29.

“Together We’re One” will run through July 1, raising funds for exhibition production, Web content, catalog printing and free public programs for adults and families.

Beginning late May, supporters can learn more, donate and download campaign materials—including e-cards and desktop and smartphone backgrounds—at asia.si.edu/yoga.

Exhibition curator Debra Diamond worked with an interdisciplinary team of scholars to compile a survey of Indian art, with more than 130 objects from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe and the United States.

As much of yoga’s history remains shrouded in mystery, this comprehensive look at its visual culture aims to mark the start of a new field of study.

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Rakesh Raman