USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Discovering Ganesha:
Remover of Obstacles

March 18–September 20, 2009

Discovering Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles
Ganesha (one in a series). By Shana Dressler. 2004. Photographic print. Courtesy of the Artist

Discovering Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles documents one of India’s most spectacular religious and cultural festivals, the Ganesh Chaturthi as celebrated in Mumbai. Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, son of Shiva and Parvati, is one of the most beloved deities of the Hindu pantheon. Though Ganesha has more than 1,000 names, he is best known as the Remover of Obstacles, the Patron of the Arts and the Lord of Wisdom.

In a series of stunning photographs, New York-based multi-media artist Shana Dressler and photographer Sudharak Olwe depict the festival from start to finish as it suffuses the entire city of Mumbai in an atmosphere of celebratory worship. Juxtaposed with pre-modern representations of Ganesha from USC Pacific Asia Museum’s collection, Dressler and Olwe’s vibrant photos connect the past and present of India while illustrating the historical legacy and spiritual significance of Ganesha in Hindu society.

For more information on Dressler’s multi-media exhibition, from which the photos on display have been taken, please visit:

Discovering Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles was made possible due to the support of the following generous donors: Prof. Arnold Kaminsky, the Solanki Family, the Prabhakar Family, Sushma & Bishamber Batra, Eunhak Bae & Robert D. Kwak,  Anna Bresnahan, Ms. Meera Deo & Dr. Manoj Kulkarni, Dr. Elizabeth Short & Dr. Michael Friedman, Nilima Gupta, Rashi Gupta, Surekha & Avinash Khedekar, Margaret Leong Checca, Aditya Prabhakar, Patricia & Kenneth McKenna Ttee, Kuldip & Parmjit Sadhal, India Sweets & Spices, and Dolphin Party Rentals.

The artists would like to thank Tegy Thomas, the associate producer of Discovering Ganesh; Incredible !ndia, India’s official government tourism board; Fuji Professional; and Duggal Digital Solutions.

Related Events

  • Sunday, July 12, 2pm
    Ganesha Celebration

    The artists of Poets on Site present original poetry, music and dance inspired by the artwork of Discovering Ganesha. Free for members, included with museum admission for non-members. RSVP to (626) 449-2742 ext. 31
  • Saturday, September 12, 10am-2pm
    Ganesha Free Family Festival

    As seen in Discovering Ganesha, each August and Septemberthroughout the Hindu world huge festivals celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday. We will celebrate it as well with music, dance, fashion, crafts, hands-on activities, and more! Free.