lyndon johnson

lyndon johnson

"Beyond Bollywood" - Smithsonian Exhibition Explores Legacy Of Indian-American Community

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A new Smithsonian exhibition in Washington explores the little-known history of the Indian-American community that now numbers almost three million in the United States.Called "Beyond Bollywood; Indian-Americans shape the nation", the exhibition, organizers say, is the Smithsonians' first in-depth look at Indian immigrants.India's robust hindi-language film industry, also called Bollywood, is known for its bright colors, glittering costumes and elaboratly choreographed dances. It has also often shaped how many Americans view Indian immigrants in the United States.Curator Masum Momaya, herself an Indian-American says she chose the name of the exhibtion to show visitors a different, less-exoticized side to the community in which she grew up."We asked the general public what they thought of when they thought of India, Indians, Indian-Americans and one of the words that most frequently came up was Bollywood and we knew in terms of the story that we wanted to tell that of course Indian-Americans are much more than what is portrayed in Bollywood or any popular culture for that matter," Momaya said.Instead the exhibition aims to highlight the contributions made by Indian immigrants to American society and their deep roots in the United States - roots that go back to the 1800s when the first big wave of Indian immigrants landed on America's shores and worked on railroads along with Chinese immigrants and as farmers in California.On the walls painted in colors inspired in part by Momaya's own closet, eminent scientists and researchers share space with actors, designers and motel owners.The exhibition includes a embroidered gown worn by First Lady Michelle Obama and designed by Naeem Khan, a trophy of the first Indian-American National Spelling Bee winner Balu Natarajan, and a giant photograph of the first Indian-American Congressman Dalip Singh Saundh with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.Photographs of Nobel winner Hargobind Khorana and astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-American in space remind visitors of contributions of some Indian-Americans' to science and research.Visitors are also invited to test their spelling skills at a mock set-up of the Spelling Bee, a national competition dominated by Indian-Americans.Momaya said the most challenging aspect of her job was deciding how to condense the many voices and experiences of this diverse community into a 5000 square foot (1524 meters) exhibition."There were many people who wanted specifically to focus on achievements, to say - don't necessarily highlight the struggles, talk about all the good things, the people that have accomplished amazing things in their field, all the victories that have been won and then I think there were equally a number of people who are like, please emphasize the struggles, the discrimination, the violence, the hardships we faced, economic and otherwise," Momaya said.The exhibition opened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History on February 27, where it will be on display for at least a year and then travels around the country from May 2015 through May 2020.For more news and videos visit ☛ http://ntdtv.tvFollow us on Twitter ☛ http://twitter.com/NTDTelevisionAdd us on Facebook ☛ http://on.fb.me/s5KV2C