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The Smart Museum's current exhibit, From the Oceans of Painting, examines 400 years of India's folk, tribal, and popular urban painting traditions. This 1985 watercolor by artist Gauri Chitrakar is an example of jarano pata, or scroll painting, which is used as a visual prop in story telling. The painters and storytellers belong to low castes and in rural areas still travel from village to village. Chitrakar's picture depicts an episode from the great epic poem the Ramayana. When the heroic Hindu deity Rama and his troops of monkey and bear soldiers are overcome in battle, the monkey chief Hanuman flies to a special mountain to retrieve four herbs that will reverse their fortunes. Unable to identify the plants, he rips out the entire mountain and brings it back to the battlefield. Exhibit curator Barbara Rossi will give a free lecture on the subject of Indian popular painting this Tuesday at 6 PM in Price Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago at Michigan and Adams. From the Oceans of Painting: India's Popular Painting Tradition, 1589 to the Present remains at the Smart Museum through Sunday, March 12; a free tour of the show is offered this Sunday at 1:30 PM. The museum is at the University of Chicago, 5550 S. Greenwood; it's open Tuesday through Friday 10 to 4, Saturday and Sunday noon to 6. Admission is free; call 702-0200 for more.

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