Revealing Krishna transports visitors to a sacred mountain in the floodplains of southern Cambodia. The exhibition showcases a monumental sculpture of the Hindu god Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan to protect his people from a torrential storm sent by an angry god. For the first time, the sculpture is explored in the context of its original environment, as part of a multi-religious landscape and quite literally built into a mountain. This larger than life-size sculpture is one of eight monumental deity figures recovered from cave temples on the two-peaked mountain of Phnom Da near the ancient metropolis of Angkor Borei. The exhibition tells the life story of this sculptural masterpiece—spanning 1,500 years and three continents—and unveils the newly restored Krishna in an exhibition that integrates art, immersive video installations, and interactive design.
The exhibition includes an original short film directed by renowned Cambodian American film maker praCh Ly. Titled Satook, a word of blessing spoken at the end of Cambodian prayers, the film examines the role of ancient sacred sites in present-day religious landscapes, and the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American diaspora communities.
“Satook,” directed by praCh Ly, examines the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American communities through the ruptures of war and immigration. The film centers on four intimate conversations with survivors and the diaspora of the Khmer Rouge genocide, who share their personal experiences and memories of their parents, and reflect on their communities and journeys of belief. The film also examines the contemporary meanings of ancient sacred sites in Cambodia and considers more broadly the diversity and complexities of religion in four different locations in the United States.
Satook will be featured as part of the new exhibition “Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain” from April 30–September 18, 2022.
A special thanks to the individuals in Satook: Sam Chhon, Bonieta Lach, Mea Lath, Pon “Carvi” Ly, and Loung Ung.
“Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain” is part of The Arts of Devotion, a five-year initiative dedicated to furthering civic discourse and the understanding of religion made possible by the Lilly Endowment Inc.