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A Saint for Our Times
An Artistic Response to the Teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba
February 16, 2019 — June 23, 2018
Curator

Polly Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts
Professors, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
UCLA

Overview

A Saint for Our Times channels the vitality associated with Shirdi Sai Baba into works by a group of international contemporary artists responding to the saint’s teachings of tolerance, patience, and compassion, among other tenets. The exhibition highlights the visual culture associated with Shirdi Sai Baba and his teachings in a range of media from photography, painting, chromolithographs, and sculpture to digital media, film, television, and the Internet.

Shirdi Sai Baba was a South Asian saint who lived from the mid-1800s to 1918 in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and who now has a global diasporic following. Shirdi Sai Baba defied religious nationalism, did not identify as either Hindu or Muslim, and accepted the devotions of all castes and faiths. His purposeful enigma and ardent tolerance have made him a popular figure for those who wish to transcend the dogmatic teachings of any given religion. He has become the paradigmatic contemporary global saint who offers accessibility and shelter to his devotees through the warmth and protection of his gaze and the blessing energy that it imparts.