Dr. Catherine Becker, associate professor in the Department of Art History and an affiliate faculty of GLAS, will present a talk on "A Tale of Two Stupas: Buddhist Artistic Heritage and the Forging of State Identities in South India,"
on March 12, 2018 at room 1050 University Hall, 601 S. Morgan St., Chicago. Everyone is invited.
This talk examines two Buddhist stupas alongside the emergence of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, two South Indian states created in 2014 from the formerly uni ed Andhra Pradesh.
Crafted of hazy bulletproof glass and housing relics excavated from the Buddhist site of Bavikonda (now in Andhra Pradesh), the first stupa sits in the crumbling State Museum in Hyderabad, the new capital of Telangana.
The second stupa—funded by the Telangana State Government and still under construction—reimagines the once-glorious architecture and sculpture of the largely destroyed second-century stupa at Amaravati, now within the boundaries of Andhra Pradesh, the new capital of which is also under construction and has been given an evocative name: Amaravati. Whereas the visual culture of this region’s Buddhist past was employed in recent decades to articulate a uni ed state identity, these two stupas exemplify not only a shift in the rhetorical uses of Buddhist heritage, but also
broader developments in the on-going politicization of monuments in the wake of India’s economic liberalization.