An exhibition of paintings by Rekha Rodwittiya

Sakshi Gallery presents ‘Rekha @ fifty’, an exhibition of paintings by Rekha Rodwittiya. Along with celebrating the past five decades of her life, the show is an assertion of the artist’s commitment to what she has consciously structured as the grid that holds the purpose of her life.

Conceived when her family wanted to do something special to commemorate her 50th birthday, this exhibition, continues to celebrate the ideals of womanhood and explore the multiple avatars that a positioned stance of female empowerment embraces. For Rekha Rodwittiya, painting has always been a form of expression that allows her to dialogue with herself and others, in a language more fluent than any other traditional form of communication.

As a committed feminist, she opines that despite the prevalent gender inequality, a multitude of voices stridently express the need to dispel the bigoted stereotype of gender bias, and seek to accommodate the changes that we know to be possible and real. The artist 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.

Rekha Rodwittiya's work describes complex issues of life and living, of alienation and belonging, of discrimination and acceptance, of accord and discord. This sensitive artist reacts pragmatically to socio-political attitudes. Her work reflects her sensitivity towards socio-political attitudes along with the reflections from her past. Her images are a byproduct of her thoughts and emotions, her readings, observations, beliefs, values and vast compilation of past experiences. She does not treat art and life in isolation and deems it necessary to experience life to paint. Her fervent activity of painting is indeed a struggle for her own rightful existence. The artist has stated, "I go through all the terror and agony of stepping into an 'unknown'."

The artist draws on a heritage of elemental imagery, tempered by psychological insights, portraying women through the prism of personal experience and day-to-day realities. As she has noted: "Caught within the intricacies of adult angst where the undercurrent of pain was recognized though not fully understood by me, the drawn or constructed image became very early a means of deciphering all that I accumulated from observing."

Born in Bangalore in 1958, Rekha Rodwittiya completed her graduation from The Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda in 1981. She then received the Inlaks scholarship for her M.A. in Painting from Royal College of Art, London in 1984. In 1988-89 she was invited as guest artist to the Konsthogskolan, Stockholm and was also invited to deliver series of lectures on Indian Art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts Grenoble and Castello de Rivoli, Torino in 1991. She 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. in 1990.

The paintings, in bright and bold colors, continue to have Rodwittiya's language in the form of feminine figures and decorative but, symbolic tapestry. 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 cultivate that fundamental appreciation within you.

Her 2006 exhibition ‘Once upon a time’ presented by Sakshi Gallery alluded to both personal and collective territories, the yin and yang of her existence. She had explained: “There are hundreds of stories that each of us carries with one. These stories are an amalgamation of truths and desires, memories and histories that are the residues of experience, which form the patina of our psyches and define our personas. At forty-eight, I caught myself in reverie, looking at the orbit of my own life to examine it. I think it is accurate to say that as painters we often chronicle through our art, and in doing so, create spaces to recount what we have garnered through the prisms of personal journeys, and via our encounters with the social, political and the cultural.”

The new show is a subtle extension of this exploration. Her works in the new exhibition are presented to her audience as a gift of celebration, with the message that life is to be lived with passion.

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