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Past Exhibitions

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Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time

Jan 14 – Jul 10 2022

Seattle Asian Art Museum

South Gallery

Spanning a period from the third millennium BCE to today, the works in this exhibition offer metamorphic and compelling images of the human body. Most of the artists utilize female and feminized forms in a myriad of ways, including as a devotional object, as a mode of self-representation, and to question the safety of public spaces.

Devi, the great goddess who holds immeasurable sacredness and strength, is a typical and potent subject within the canon of South Asian art. In modern and contemporary art, South Asian-identified artists have reacted against traditional norms and challenged gender, national, and social stereotypes. Some have reoriented the exemplary and fierce model of the goddess. Others have attended to new subjects, selecting everyday townspeople—such as fisherwomen and local schoolgirls—to be the protagonists of their work.

Each of the artists here invest the human body with the power to question social, political, and normative fictions. By doing so, they invite you to explore the complexities of the human body: to contemplate and question which bodies are conferred with greater degrees of humanity and perhaps to imagine, with them, different ways to embody change.


  • Adeela Suleman
  • B. Prabha
  • Bani Abidi
  • Baua Devi
  • Brendan Fernandes
  • Chila Kumari Singh Burman
  • Chitra Ganesh
  • F. N. Souza
  • Godawari Dutta
  • Humaira Abid
  • Jagdamba Devi
  • Malavika Rajnarayan
  • Mithu Sen
  • Naiza Khan
  • Pushpamala N.
  • Rekha Rodwittiya

Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time
made possible by

Major Sponsors
Blakemore Foundation
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
Mimi Gardner Gates Asian Art Endowment
Dipti and Rakesh Mathur

Additional Support
Contributors to the SAM Fund

Miss Macho (Self Portrait), from the False Friends series, 2007, Mithu Sen, Indian, born 1971, mixed media photocollage on archival paper, Collection of Sanjay Parthasarathy and Malini Balakrishnan, T2021.15.2.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM