Rekha Rodwittiya's new work - a reflection of the lost innocence and sensitivity

Rekha Rodwittiya is showing her inspiring body of works in Mumbai after a gap of almost three years. The Baroda-based artist says that in the new works the private and public worlds collide. The show titled "Bye Bye Baby" refers to loss of innocence.

The body of work comprises about 15 paintings is a series that portrays the breaking down of the idealism in the political environment. In a tongue and cheek sort of way, or at the obvious levels, the series reflect the anarchical situation that surrounds us.

Her work reflects her sensitivity towards socio-political attitudes along with the reflections from her past. She does not treat art and life in isolation. She deems it necessary to experience life to paint. Her fervent activity of painting is a struggle for her own rightful existence. She explains, "I go through all the terror and agony of stepping into an "unknown". The directives to the birth of an image are my thoughts and emotions, my readings, observations, beliefs, values and vast compilation of past experiences." It is of paramount importance to her to react pragmatically to socio-political attitudes that surround her. This particular series is "a reflection of the lost innocence and sensitivity that has led to the growing schism in the society."

The paintings, in bright and bold colors, continue to have Rodwittiya's language in the form of feminine figures and decorative but, symbolic tapestry. Giving an insight into her usage of bright and bold colors, she states that the colors bring about an optical association that further forges you into an association with my work." Her basic philosophy is to visualize beauty even in the most trivial of things, and the same holds true for art; she believes you need to instil that fundamental appreciation within you.

Rodwittiya has always been concerned with the representation of the female figure in her quest to find the vocabulary to represent women without objectifying them, without allowing the viewer to play the role of voyeur. Rodwittiya represents large clothed Gauginesque women as the archetypal figure in their daily work rituals, dwarfing their tools and objects that surround them, in a celebration of the female protagonist.

Reviewing another of her milestone at Sakshi Art Gallery, Bangalore in February 2001 art critic Marta Jakimowicz-Karle had noted: "Rekha Rodwittiya's paintings are quite a metamorphosis .... till a few years ago whose expressive vibrance used to be reigned by a striking stylisation, both the passionate colors and the strokes themselves and their certain rounding, rhythmicizing and contouring - engaged to make an utterly feminine image of exuberant self-assertiveness, sensuality and life energy. The impassioned involvement, the self-centred affirmation that widens out and the carnal delight are still there. The transformation - aesthetic as well as emotive- comes now with subtlety, delicacy and lightness, those nevertheless only in a different way enhancing the sense of joyful and serious prowess."

Born in Bangalore, Karnataka, the artist completed her graduation from The Faculty Of Fine Arts, Baroda in 1981.Then she received the Inlaks scholarship to study at the Royal college of London for two years. She also did a short stint at the Fullam Institute on Film and Video, and was conferred the Staff Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation Asian Cultural Council to work in the U.S.A in 1990. In 1991, she was the artist-in-residence for two months at the Magasin Centre National D' Art Contemporian de Grenoble, France. The Government of India appointed her as an advisor on art and culture to the Central Lalit Kala Committee, Delhi.

Rekha Rodwittiya has represented India in several prestigious art shows internationally apart from a series of workshops and lectures on Indian art. She has held solo exhibitions at the Gallery 678, New York, Studio Barbieri, Venice and has also participated in the 2nd Biennale, Havana and in "Six Young Contemporaries" in Geneva. She was one of the participating artists at a major exhibition of Indian contemporary art in Oslo's Henie-Onstad Art Centre. This was as part of the celebrations of 50 years of Indo-Norwegian bilateral relations. Her works are in various private and public collections in India, U.K., U.S.A., Brazil, Italy, West Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Her latest show at the Sakshi Art Gallery is on till March 12, 2003. Rekha Rodwittiya currently lives and works in Baroda.

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