For Border Zones, Prabakar Visvanath participated
with museum staff in a
project that confronts the boundaries between the sacred and the secular,
between performance art and the performance of sacred text, and between
contemporary art and cultural practice.
He conducted an abishekam, or ritual renewal, of a divine Hindu deity
image (bronze artifact) from the Museum's collection. His ritual purification
of the image (which, not insignificantly, involved much negotiation between
conservation and curatorial departments) was filmed and is shown in the
gallery alongside a live-stream projected image of the figure re-located
to the public display case in MOA's Multiversity Galleries.
Prabakar Visvanath is a Hindu priest based at the Sri Murugan Temple
in Richmond, British Columbia. He is recognized for his distinctive ritual
practice of "dressing" Hindu deities inside the temple, a puja
ritual which he conducts regularly.
Comes to Call: Secular and Sacred in a North American Museum
by Stephen Inglis