Undeterred by the government shutdown, the first-ever yoga art exhibit is now on view at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian. A tribute to the practice’s visual history, the exhibition showcases the Eastern roots of the $5 billion U.S. industry. The display includes items like sculptures of yogi goddesses from a tenth-century south Indian temple, folios from the first illustrated set of asanas (yogic postures), and Thomas Edison’s Hindoo Fakir (1906), the first movie produced about India. The exhibition is interactive, too: Visitors can attempt intricate rice powder drawings, make “yoga-inspired art,” and attend a hybrid museum-tour-yoga class, co-led by docents and guest yoga instructors. With workshops titled “Art in Context” and funded in part by Hilaria Baldwin, the exhibition sounds like a very earnest effort to respond to complaints about the cultural appropriation of the practice — which is something we can all raise our glasses of coconut water to, right?
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