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News release: 13th century Ganesha sculpture arrives from the British Museum

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Russell-Cotes is proud to welcome the Spotlight Tour from the British Museum which will showcase a 13th century sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha from the British Museum, along with material from the Russell-Cotes collections. He will be here until 20th September 2015.

Ganesha is a particularly popular and special god within the Hindu faith as he is the remover and creator of obstacles so no ceremony or work can commence without his worship.

Members of the Dorset Indian Association came to perform puja (worship) this week to welcome Ganesha to Bournemouth. Vrushali Harihar from the Dorset Indian Association said; “It is wonderful to have Ganesha here. We feel blessed and hope he brings blessings to everyone in Bournemouth”.

Sarah Newman, Russell-Cotes Programmes Officer, said; “This is a unique opportunity to see this stunning stone sculpture which probably came from a Hindu temple in the eastern state of Orissa, in India. We are delighted to be chosen as the first stop on the British Museum tour of the UK particularly as our founders, Merton and Annie had a real affinity with the Indian subcontinent as displayed in their collections.”

Maria Bojanowska, Head of National Programmes at the British Museum, said; “It is very exciting to be launching our Spotlight Tour of Celebrating Ganesha with Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. The exhibition is a key part of our programme to better represent and explore the culture and faith of the diverse communities of the UK, and is perfectly complementing by the important global collections at Russell- Cotes”.

Ganesha was chosen as an ‘object in focus’ by Manisha Nene, a museum curator from Mumbai, when participating in the International Training Programme at the British Museum. She selected it for a small exhibition at the Museum to explore Ganesha’s importance in contemporary India in public worship and private prayer.

Alongside the sculpture, the Russell-Cotes is displaying some items from its own collections of Hindu material, brought back to Bournemouth by Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes from their tour of India in 1886. They visited many places including Madras, Calcutta, Bombay (Mumbai) and Delhi.

The Russell Cotes is delighted that the sculpture will be in Bournemouth for 17th September which is the annual Ganesha Festival and members of the Dorset Indian Association will be celebrating the festival at the Museum on 20th September when there will be worship and a cultural programme supported by the Dorset Race Equality Council. Ganesha idols will be submerged in the river, as is the traditional culmination of the festival.

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  • Statue of Ganesh British Museum

July 9, 2015