In “Zarah Hussain: Breath” at the Peabody Essex Museum, her luminous concentric paintings and a rippling digital animation help viewers to attend to their own breathing.
The exhibition is part of a rising tide of art that quietly suggests, as Mary Oliver does in her poem “Wild Geese,” “You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves.”
“We can all identify with the breath, the pandemic, and the need to manage our stress,” said Siddhartha Shah, PEM’s director of education and civic engagement.
Shah has a master’s degree in psychoanalysis at the California Institute for Integral Studies, a holistic-minded school, where he focused on the healing powers of embodiment: touch, movement, sensation.
He’s also the museum’s curator of South Asian art, with a PhD in art history from Columbia. He sees a