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Goddesses Lakshmi & Sarasvati, at The Cleveland Museum of Art

After the brief but meaningful trip to Chicago, childhood friend (and my first paycheck boss when we both worked at the Marshalls in Morton Grove) Chris Forillo and I braved the Sunday rain and drove back to Cleveland. Ok, Chris braved the temperamental downpour, while I sat comfortably in his jeep, relying in Dayquil to help me breathe.

We made it home safely and on Tuesday Chris, who, like me, is an art lover, and I ventured to The Cleveland Museum of Art, a city gem that is always free to the public. The CMA hosts a world-class collection and as each new section of the expansion opens, it reveals the international gems that provide intrigue and joy to the human eye.

At one corner, I spotted a powerful image, one of a dark face, with large dark eyes, set against a red background. The face also protrudes a long, red, inverse triangle tongue, just below an over-sized hoop nose ring. The bold exhibit poster, which covers the entire wall, states, “Indian Kalighat Paintings” and lures museum patrons to explore more. And so we did.

As I turned another corner, a painting quickly caught my eye. It’s of two Indian goddesses and there was something entrancing about the two beauties. The two women in the painting are of the Goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati. As I approached the wall to read the painting description, it all made sense.

I called Anita later in the week and after she helped me pronounce the names properly, I shared with her their parallels to us, down to skin color. You should have heard her! Yet once again we had a giant a-ha moment, this one, cross cultural.

You can read the description for yourself and draw your own conclusions. For Anita and I, the writing is on the wall. In Cleveland.

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