Artist Vishakha Hardikar’s depiction of Sita’s swayamvar

Art needn’t essentially be critical or obscure. A piece of artwork will be entertaining and interesting, a dialog starter. Imagine Sita’s swayamvar depicted in an inventive type that borrows from conventional folklore and incorporates components of pop culture and comics.

The kings who couldn’t elevate and string the Shiva Dhanush go right into a refrain of ‘Hey Ram’ in resignation, whereas King Janaka and Sita change a thumbs up. Katha Kathan, an exhibition of work and sculptures by Mumbai-based artist, Visakha Hardikar, displayed on the State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad, has a touch of playfulness that makes the 100-plus artworks a pleasure to view.

Curated by Annapurna M, that is the primary solo exhibition of the artist who has been training for over 20 years. From the retelling of Ramayana and Radha-Krishna romance to giving her personal spin to Marvel superheroes and Money Heist, Vishakha’s artwork modified subtly as her son, now 13, grew up.

The concept of storytelling is the crux of Vishakha’s work. In the primary part titled Nani, the artwork emerges from her reminiscences of summer season holidays spent at her grandmother’s home in Ujjain, surrounded by aunts and cousins. “I used to be acquainted with Madhubani and miniature artwork whereas rising up,” she says. “While pursuing wonderful arts in Indore, I started engaged on a method that incorporates the standard and the modern.”

The Nani sequence portrays girls and kids of totally different age teams sharing tales on the terrace, teams of girls gossiping (a portray is titled Sasural Genda Phool) and the grandmother busy stitching, chopping greens or making pickles. Some of the colors and patterns are influenced by handlooms and crafts of the area such because the bagh prints and hand block prints. Vishakha makes use of each acrylic and textured oil portray strategies to create vibrant artworks.

In the Ramayana sequence, she reimages Ram as a superhero. “Children are f ascinated by Marvel and DC superheroes. This was my approach of getting my son interested by Indian tales by narrating them as superhero tales.”

When she depicts the battle between Ram and Ravana, the battleground scene provides an concept of what the totally different characters are as much as. There aren’t any winners or losers but; the battle is raging. Among the totally different weapons, the viewer can spot prickly spherical constructions that we now affiliate with the Coronavirus! “My son calls them prickly bombs and it was his concept to make use of them for the battle.”

Hanuman’s Lanka dahanam is titled Tail Tales and the comic-inspired determine of Hanuman has a childlike high quality to it. When he’s up within the air flying with the Sanjeevani mountain, he’s concurrently serving to himself to a banana. The relaxed method during which he does his work, says Vishakha, comes from his understanding that every thing has been pre-written.

In the Radha-Krishna sequence, the romance has a recent contact when Radha and Krishna are proven to satisfy whereas sharing a slice of watermelon or corn on cob, as a result of the artist believes, “there can’t be romance with out meals”.

Elsewhere, within the sequence that depicts Gods and their vahanas, Vishakha reimagines the vahana as a pal and companion of the God or Goddess. A portray of Durga has the Goddess cradling a lion cub.

Moving away from mythology, Vishaka additionally portrays Marvel superheroes resembling Captain America and Thor and a set of small posters impressed by Money Heist.

Her signature type that blends the previous and the brand new took 20 years to evolve, says Vishakha. The intent to relate tales has been the core of her artwork. As the curator Annapurna sums up, “Some of the work, just like the Nani sequence, might have come from her private reminiscences however it’s immediately relatable to anybody who sees them. Sab ki nani hai (everybody has a grandmother)…”

(Katha Kathan by Vishakha Hardikar is on view at State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad, until January 29)

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