Ark of India is an exhibit about discovery. It is an account of late 19th and early 20th century India as seen by Alabama artist, Roderick D. MacKenzie, using his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and most importantly, photographs and writings. MacKenzie spent more than a decade in India, a place he described as exotic, dangerous, and colorful. He rode with princes on tiger hunts, climbed mountains along India’s Northern border, and swam in the sacred Ganges River. MacKenzie was the official painter of the Delhi Durbar in 1903, which marked the coronation of King Edward VII.

Returning to America in 1913, MacKenzie soon found other topics for his artwork, such as Bellingrath Gardens, the Mobile waterfront, and Birmingham’s steel mills. Yet his time in India remained with him for the rest of his life. Through his time in the country, he earned a deep and abiding respect for its people, perhaps because they were not so different from the artist himself...


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