Forbidden forest sparks interest in Hindu folklore

South American folklore characters come out of hiding to greet Toronto

An empty hallway of the Forbidden Forest exhibit with white walls, a brown reflective floor, protratis on the walls and a door at the end of the hallway.
Forbidden Forest art exhibit on the third floor of the Artscape Youngplace. Matthew McCarthy/Toronto Observer

Bhavesh Mistry wasn’t sure Toronto audiences would take to such unfamiliar topics at the Forbidden Forest art exhibit in January. However, the show’s creators were happy with the reception.

“At first we weren’t sure if this theme would resonate with a wide audience,” he wrote. “But from the feedback we’ve received, people have really been drawn to the curiosity of those creatures in a similar way that we were when we started.”

Forbidden Forest was an art exhibit at the Artscape Youngplace, displaying art of 12 Hindu folklore characters. The portraits had white blocks of text next to them, detailing each character’s story.

“These portraits are really well executed,” Cheryl, a gallery assistant at Critical Distance said. “When I say they are well executed, I mean it. They have a sense of design, layout, colour.”

Forbidden Forest is part of DesignTO, an event that involved 100 exhibits and events across Toronto between Jan. 18 to Jan. 27. They took art into exhibits to the public for discussion, appreciation and inspiration.

The creators of the Forbidden Forest exhibit are Humble Raja, made up of Bhavesh and Reena Mistry.

Bhavesh is an art director at Roadmunk, a production management startup company. Reena is a designer at Community, a creative agency. Both companies reside in Toronto.

Their passion for Hindu folklore was not a recent thing, but something they admired since they were children, according to Reena.

“We’ve grown up with many of these stories, which are intertwined in our culture and traditions,” she wrote. “The values in myths often translate between cultures, and creating an exhibition allowed us to extend this tradition of oral storytelling in a new visual way.”

The exhibit is no longer available but prints and playing cards featuring the characters will be available on their website for purchase later this year.

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Posted: Feb 8 2019 2:18 pm
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