Exhibit explores artist’s Indian culture

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted July 2, 2021 | By Amanda Valderrama, Special to the Ocala Gazette

Dr. Sheni Meghani [Submitted]

Dr. Sheni Meghani’s exhibit will be the first of its kind for the Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) in Ocala. 

Her showcase, titled “Seeing Peacocks through My Eyes: A Immersive Experience into Indian Culture through Folk Art, Dance, Storytelling and Culinary Tastes,” will run from July 1-10 at the Brick City Center for the Arts. 

The exhibit will kick off with three days of events starting with an opening reception on July 1 at 5 p.m. 

This will be an opportunity for participants to meet and greet with the artist while hearing the stories behind each painting and indulging in authentic Indian bites. The event is free and sponsored by the Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida.

The experience will broaden visitors’ understanding of India, its people, traditions and culture, said Ashley Justiniano, the center’s gallery director. 

“I do not believe anyone will leave the gallery without feeling enriched by vibrant colors, beautiful motifs, flavorful taste and enchanting melodies of folk-life,” said Meghani. 

Her art is born through her experiences as a child growing up in Gujarat, India, and then filtering those memories through her life in the United States. 

“Her energy is contagious,” said Justiniano. “She is eager to get involved in the cultural community and bring a little of her own into it.” 

Meghani often found herself speaking of childhood memories when her husband would ask about her paintings. After some time, she realized that there was no way to separate the stories from her artwork. She eventually started to write them down as she would create new pieces. The result became a multi-sensory cultural exhibit that she was able to fine-tune with the help of others, including some at MCA. Meghani hopes that this cultural experience will help people find common ground and bring others together.

“Art is about people and relationships,” she said. “Art cannot exist on walls. Art can only thrive in communities, dialogues, experiences and sharing.” 

As medical director of palliative care at Hospice of Marion County, Meghani came to MCA as a new artist who wanted to get involved with the arts community. 

Justiniano mentioned the July pop-up exhibit, and Meghani jumped at the opportunity.

She said working with MCA has helped her to enhance and refine her ideas 

“I would be thrilled to do this all over again with Ashley and Jaye (Baillie,) in a heartbeat,” she said. 

Meghani’s exhibit is the first of others that will focus on different cultures. According to Justiniano, the gallery is in the process of planning a November exhibit that will focus on the diversity and inclusion of local artists. 

“This experience has reminded me of my rich heritage,” said Meghani. “It is almost like I am discovering where I belong.”  

For information about the exhibit, visit mcaocala.org or call 352-369-1500.

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