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News Museum Eyes Indian-Americans Contribution To U.S. Culture   Email this page
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BANGALORE: Bollywood movies, Indian dishes and yoga may be the bywords for Indians in the U.S. But a new exhibition showcases the contributions made by Indian-Americans to the American culture beyond all the glam and sparkle of Bollywood, as reported by NDTV.
The exhibition intends to showcase the Indian-American history of 200 long years from workers who built some of the first rail-roads in the West to the creator of Hotmail. There are also displays of more recent contributions of leading Indian-American writers, athletes, entertainers and a fashion designer preferred by the first lady Michelle Obama.

This is the first of its kind exhibition, which will go on display for a year in Washington and then voyage itself to museums, libraries and community centers in 15 cities across the country through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

“We chose the title and the theme Beyond Bollywood very intentionally to attract visitors and suggest that we intended to go beyond stereotypes,” exclaimed curator Masum Momaya, who developed the content. Though its color and design draw on Bollywood aesthetics, “My intention as a curator has been to focus on cultural, political and professional contributions that Indian immigrants and Indian Americans have made to shaping US history,” she added.Crucial highlight of the exhibition is a dress designed by the Indian-American designer Naeem Khan, which was worn by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House’s Governors Dinner in 2012. And other highlights include the 1985 National Spelling Bee trophy that will be awarded to the first Indian American winner, Balu Natarajan and 2004 Olympic Silver Medal for Mohini Bhardwaj’s for gymnastics.

“The vibrant life, culture and history of immigrants from India and Indian Americans are the story of America,” said Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre noting that one in hundred Americans have an India connection attached to them.

The other topics that will be covered in the exhibition include early stages of immigrant experiences; struggles for citizenship in the first half of the 20th century; and professional contributions from the 1960s and beyond; organizing for labor rights, women’s rights. The exhibition will also include cultural contributions through food, music, and dance from the entertainment industry.

And the Public programs include performances featuring Indian-American art, comedy, cuisine, dance, film, television, literature and music. The Centre has also come up with online education portal that will give the opportunity for individuals to share their family stories through a digital gateway.

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