I went to the Alliance Francaise last night for a non-ticketed talk conducted by Dr Rachel Loizeau called “Ramayana Retold – Representation in Indian sculpture”. This was a free event held at the AF Theatre and there were light refreshments served before the event started slightly before 8pm.
I must say that the refreshments were really very good. I liked everything I ate even though I didn’t get to try everything. According to Paul and Shaz, who arrived earlier than I, everything WAS GOOD! Before the event though, “some people from the Indian audience” wrote in to express their unhappiness at having wine served “in an Indian culture related event”. But this is the Alliance Francaise! They are from WINE COUNTRY! What gives?! Kudos to the AF for the fantastic catering though.
The talk was mainly on Dr Loizeau’s work documenting Indian sculpture, in particular the Ramayana narratives. Dr Loizeau is a Art Historian who’s currently a Research Fellow at the Asian civilisations Museum. While her work started with Hindu iconography in the Indus, she’s recently moved to Southeast Asia to study the Indonesian and Khmer versions of the same narrative traditions.
I always feel silly after a talk because I have so many questions but I never know what to ask. Usually when someone asks a question, I think to myself “hey! I want to know that too! I could’ve asked THAT QUESTION”. But of course, I never do because I’m too stoned. There were several good questions that night and several irritating people in the audience who seemed to be there to challenge her. I mean, if you ALREADY KNOW so much, why are you there?
One member of the audience asked what language were the inscriptions in – he said LANGUAGE. She of course replied by using the same word – “language”. You don’t have to say “Brahmi is not a language, it’s a Script! It’s a SCRIPT!!” And when she says “Yes, I know it’s a script” and starts explaining to the rest of us in the audience, please stop saying “It’s not a language, it’s a SCRIPT!!”. She already qualified by saying she’s not a Linguist and she can’t read the inscriptions. She collects data from existing sources where people have tried identifying the panels and translating the inscriptions. She is a Art Historian, you bloody fool! She’s interested in the sculptures, the artwork and the narratives!!
Sometimes I wish I had studied Maths instead of Literature. When I tell people I majored in Literature, and I’m unable to DISCUSS a particular book or author, they act disturbed. Hello. I studied Literature. I’m not a cataloging Library. I can only read that many books in my short lifetime.