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MAO - Museum of Oriental Art verified

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closed Eva Rapoport.

The show

The MAO of Turin, on the occasion of the TOASEAN Culture Days 2021, hosts the photographic exhibition by Eva Rapoport Believe with the body in Southeast Asia - promoted by the Department of Culture, Politics and Society of the University of Turin and by T.wai Turin World Affairs Institute - which tells, through a series of 20 images, five cases of physical interactions with invisible worlds: the Jathilan, a Javanese dance-trance in which artists are possessed by ancestral spirits that allow them to manifest a surprising physical invulnerability, Puja Pantai, an annual ceremony held by the Mah Meri, an indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, to appease the spirits of the sea, Thaipusam, a festival of the Hindu Tamil community in Malaysia, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival during which mediums are possessed by spirits and pierce their faces with various objects, and the Sak Yant Wai Kru, an annual ceremony held in central Thailand, during which the bearers of sacred tattoos come together to recharge their power.

The prospect of turning religion into a thing of the past, traced by the European Enlightenment and sustained for much of the 20th century, has not come true. Southeast Asia offers us many vivid manifestations: in the countries of East Asia various forms of popular and doctrinal beliefs, marginal or recognized by the state, play an important role in politics, culture and daily life. And if secularization did not prove to be a lasting trend, even the written word, which also played a central role in the transmission of knowledge, is now being pushed aside by new technologies, which have brought purely visual forms of communication to the fore. 

In this context, where the object of religious beliefs and various forms of mysticism is an invisible force, the forms of interaction with these forces are instead extremely tangible and reveal themselves through the bodies of mediums.

The state of possession or trance allows mediums to push further and further the boundaries of what a body can bear: ritual piercings and self-mutilation leave deep traces on the bodies of the faithful, and at the same time mark (even haunt) the memories of who witnesses these phenomena. Devotees carry the marks of their faith not only in their hearts but also on their bodies: shaved heads, sacred tattoos, scars from ritual piercings.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets

Address

Via San Domenico, 9-11
10100 Turin

Contacts

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