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Our Big Read Spearfish theme will be used again in April in a very colorful way.

From April 7-26 the Matthews Art Gallery will host an exhibit of Indian saris; the traditional female clothing from India.  Mannikins will display customary dress and also the art and skill displayed within the fabrics of India.

A new exhibit called  “The Colors of India,” will be unveiled during an opening night reception in The Matthews Art Gallery on Friday, April 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The reception will feature a display of traditional saris, sari wrapping demonstrations, and insight into life in India as a high school exchange student. The exhibition runs April 7 through Saturday, April 26 during normal art gallery hours — Monday through Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This exhibition is part of The Big Read that is currently going on in Spearfish with the book, “The Namesake.”  Ava Sauter, Gallery & Events Manager says “This is one of our most colorful exhibits in the gallery. The Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts has made it possible to put this together. We hope folks come by to enjoy it before heading upstairs to the Ashwin Batish Ensemble concert — another event The Big Read has made possible!”

Opening night activities (Fri., 4/11/14)

The theme of the event is everything India. The opening  on Friday, April 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., will also include a sari wrapping demonstration by Ronalda Lee, a Spearfish resident who did a sari demonstration during The Matthews’ Indian Film Festival earlier this year. Hayli Barnthouse, a Spearfish High School senior, will talk about her experience this year studying abroad in India as an exchange student. The event will also feature traditional Indian food catered by the Bay Leaf Cafe of Spearfish.

Sari History

The word “Sari” originates from the Sanskrit term for “strip of cloth” and has been the traditional dress of women in India, Bangladesh and other areas of the Middle East as far back at 2800 BC. One of the first historical mentions of the sari was around 400 BC within the famous Sanskrit epic Mahabharata with the story of the Draupadi who was blessed by Lord Krishna with a sari that did not end despite the attempts of her husband’s enemy to disrobe her.

The traditional Sari is between six and nine yards of fabric that are carefully tucked and draped around the body to emphasize the beauty and gracefulness of the female form. Today there are over 80 different styles of Sari wrapping.  The art center encourages everyone attending to wear their own saris or Middle Eastern attire.

TBR-Logo-PartnersThe April 11 opening reception will have refreshments and cash bar. Immediately following the reception, the live concert, Ashwin Batish Ensemble, will start at 7:30 p.m. in The Matthews Opera House theater.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.