Humanity has always liked stories. From the walls of caves with stories of cattle, to entire libraries that fit into our palms, humankind has come a long way through history with the same sense of wonder about stories, intact. Indian Mythology is full of stories. The two main epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, have been told and re-told in myriad ways and artforms. They contain wonderous characters that guide us through their virtues and vices alike. Mahabharata is an epic with multiple avenues of interpretation, that looks completely enticing when being looked at, from the lens of gender. The key characters of Mahabharata are even more invigorating and inspiring when rendered in the female form, giving us a sharp sense of our own perspective, and a closer sense of identification with the story. This series, “Mahila Bharat”, a collection of paintings, is my humble attempt to marry the gorgeous characters of a common story we all know, and present it from a female frame of reference while parallelly addressing common social issues and emotions of the modern life we lead, as the female tribe of this planet.
The Fabric has many layers. On Top left is Kunti, leaving a child wrapped in her red saree, and there in starts the game of strategy, shown as chess blocks. On right is the voluntarily blinded Gandhari, tied her eyes with the same fabric, that flows into Panchali whose state of undress creates the war. The red fabric doesn’t stop there, it flows into the womb of
Subadhra, forms the vicious chakra vyuh in her stomach. With Pandavas sitting as pawns under the able Krishna’s flute, and Dridhirashtra on his strategic chair, with the game of dice on the mid left, this painting explores Mahabharatha in its entirety, and the same fabric that
ties the woman, in the form of child, husband and children also flows into modern day , through the hands of Mr.Time, and becomes the cape of the superwomen of today. Pulling, tugging, also giving them a superwomen tag. The whole painting is rendered in straight lines, which is a stark contrast to the fluidity and curves that are associated with women.