Vahana: Vehicle of the Gods

Image: Clare Arni

Image: Clare Arni

The Vahana: Vehicle of the Gods exhibition features the work of Celebrated Bangalore based photographer, Clare Arni who has been documenting the Aiyanar festivals in India and processes leading up to them for several years. 

Aiyanar is a Hindu village god of Tamil Nadu mostly worshipped as a guardian deity who protects rural villages. The earliest known references are from the 3rd Century CE. Annual festivals are celebrated in sacred groves on the outskirts of villages in early spring at which time the potters, who inherit the role of priest, make large-scale terracotta horses and other votive offerings.

Clare Arni presents an exhibition of new work describing the making of the terracotta horses, the festivals and votive offerings as well as images of the groves where avenues of horses form majestic entries to the spaces. 

One of the remaining potters Kasirajan Subbaiah famous for making terracotta horses also took up residence at MJAC creating two 2.2 metre high terracotta horse for the project.