This page is under construction. Sorry for any inconvenience! We're not sure why Sidd chose to post this lovely and unusual painting of Ganesh on this page, but here's our official Alterations Garden aside on the topic of Ganesh (Ganesha, Ganapati, etc.).
Ganesha is known to the world as a Hindu god, and so is identified with India. Hinduism, however, is today practiced in other parts of the world. In the past century, Hindus migrated to Great Britain, Africa, and North America, in sufficient numbers so that their temples are today found in these places, far from India. But one branch of this diaspora is somewhat unique, in that Hinduism arrived and took root decades before the real waves of Hindu population, and that place is California. California, because of its liberal laws, was recognized from the early twentieth century as a stronghold of alternative lifestyles within the United States of America. South California in particular nurtured many spiritual organizations, which, while not representing orthodox Hinduism, proposed and defended Hindu precepts and generally taught yoga. Early examples are the Theosophical Society's colony on Point Loma (San Diego), which has roots in the late nineteenth century, and the various schools built by the Self-Realization Fellowship. Interestingly, Ganesha Park, in Pomona, has an unclear origin in the early twentieth century.
In the 1930's, good climate, and the availability of alternative medicine, made South California a popular destination for retired Americans seeking to improve their health. Many became vegetarians. The Seventh Day Adventist Church, long established in California, provided a Christian spiritual organization for many California vegetarians, while others founded annexes of existing Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh organizations. Decades later, beginning ca. 1970, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness built many proper Hindu temples in California, which are today used by immigrant Hindus and American 'converts' alike.
Ganesha grew in popularity as the subject of paintings and drawings by artists producing for the drug subculture in the 1980's. Most likely, this was not so much because of a growth of interest in Hinduism, but because 'head shops' all over the world became more interconnected, leading to a larger and more colorful array of icons.