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January 19, 2008 • The Hindu Press – LINK


A grid pattern, layers and a cultural identity is evolved

Culture conscious The many cultures and their icons jostle for space
Layers and layers of multi-cultural images, icons, ethnography and meanings, that’s what you will find on the canvases of Rasika Reddy now on display at the Kalahita Art Gallery. Unlike the dozens of canvases, squabbling for space, Rasika has m ounted only a few canvases that she painted in New Jersey. But those few canvases telescope eons and eons of human history into one golden rectangle.
If one untitled canvas has the image of chakras in the human body, just to its right is the image of the Enlightened One overshadowing but co-existing with the iconic image of Shankaracharya.
Wait, the image is not complete without the fine detailing of the chants of various religions and cultures that occupy and suffuse the canvas.
See the canvas from a different perspective and you will see a grid, a grid that divides as well as brings unity to Rasika’s effort. The titling of the exhibition ‘Surface Chants’ becomes apparent, as the various details become apparent at a closer glance of the paintings.
If a lotus adorns the Nataraj icon, it varies a great deal from the one that’s a spiritual lotus with thousand petals that harks back to the tantric connection between Hinduism and Buddhism.
“I usually work around a theme, the icons vary, so do the processes. I have delved into Byzantine, Indian, Islamic, Buddhist cultures for the icons and images, some of these get obliterated for various reasons while some others come to the fore,” says Rasika Reddy. What happens in this composition and superimposition is the creation of a universal culture that can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. This universalisation of the
“I use these architectural elements, motifs and icons to simplify the communication. These things don’t need an explanation and are highly evocative,” says Rasika who uses silk-screen printing technique and acrylics on canvas.
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