Photo Credits: Carroll and Sons, Boston.
Residents of the devotee community in Alachua, Florida might find some familiar faces if they travel to New England this spring.
Michael Bühler-Rose, aka Brahma Muhurta Dasa, is one of five artists being featured in the “SMFA Traveling Scholars” exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until May 31. Each artist received an award from the Museum School in 2008 to enable them to further develop their work through travel and artistic exploration. Bühler-Rose, a photographer, journeyed within the United States and to India.
His work explores explores the conventions of the figure in painting and photography through the lens of historical colonial and Indian art and questions the identity of the "exotic other." Part of this quest involves understanding how individuals negotiate multiple identities, especially in the East/West context. He freely admits to being influenced by his own "dual identity" as a western convert to Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Bühler-Rose’s featured photographs depict several young ladies from the Alachua community, dressed in traditional Indian saris, but partaking in such prosaic scenes as a game of chess or sitting on the open trunk of a station wagon. The juxtaposition is striking, especially for friends and family of the girls, who are used to seeing them smiling during dance performances, not casting profound glances while seated on a park bench.
The SMFA's Traveling Scholarship Awards is one of the largest art school travel grant programs in the country, annually totaling $80,000–$100,000. Since 1899, the Museum School has given these individual grants to select alumni and students.