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Festivals in the City of Angels: Flames of Devotion

November 12, 2020 | 5:00PM - 6:00PM

In honor of Diwali, the “festival of lights” that celebrates the beginning of the Hindu New Year, scholar Lakshika Senarath Gamage will explore the origins of this holiday and its manifestations in contemporary faith communities. She will also offer her perspective on the design, construction, and use of the spectacular bronze oil lamps in the Fowler’s collection, acquired by the pre-eminent scholar of Indian art in LA. Such oil lamps would have been used in Diwali celebrations to symbolize the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

Lakshika Senarath Gamage received her Ph.D. in 2018 from the UCLA Department of Art History. Her research on Early Modern South Asian Art focuses on Hindu and Buddhist temple art and architecture in India and Sri Lanka. While at UCLA, her dissertation fieldwork in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala was supported by the Ralph C. Altman award bestowed by the Fowler Museum in 2014. She currently teaches Asian Art history at Santa Monica College and conducts research on South Asian Art at the Getty Research Institute.

Presented in partnership with Indian Student Union at UCLA.

This program is generously supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Festivals in the City of Angels
This series connects museum programs with communities across the city in order to better understand manifestations of lived religions in Los Angeles and honor local expressions of global faiths.


Image credit: Artist unknown (Andhra Pradesh, India); Oil lamp, 18th century; Bronze; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X2001.11.23a-t; Gift of the Pal Family

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