Nature Morte, New Delhi
Solo exhibition of recent works by Pushpamala N
“Avega, The Passion”
Pushpamala N is a photo and video performance artist who is the protagonist of her own elaborate compositions, exploring the medium in various ways to document ethnographic prototypes. In her recent body of works exhibited at Nature Morte, New Delhi, “Avega – The Passion”, Pushpamala N. selects three women from the Ramayana as the exemplar of Indian culture and society. These photographs also describe a genre of visual representation of ancient Indian literature with stylized costumes and exaggerated props, which add to the melodrama on emotional effect.
Indian Mythology of both, Ancient and Modern India is a mere allegory to convey spiritual truths amongst the believers. One of the greatest epics of all times, the Ramayana, ascribed to the Hindu sage, Valmiki, has been modified over generations through several expressions of artistic liberties to make it relevant to their time.
Pushpamala’s photographs have been composed and staged very dramatically, similar to the classical paintings of Raja Ravi Varma (a royal painter of the 19th century in India), recreating episodes from the epic, which were centric to the woman who, throughout history has been the zenith of strength, but yet subdued by men.
In ”Abduction”, the artist is portrays herself as a banished queen, seized and held captive by a demon-esque man wearing an elaborate gold embellished costume, heavy eyebrows and menacing eyes. In spite of a struggle at first, she accepts her fate and courageously withstands the hardships of captivity. Each image is powerfully composed, transforming that moment into an emotional labyrinth.
The other series in this body of work, “Intrigue” are individual photographs to illustrate an episode of betrayal within the Royal palace. She performs as the queen who has just been informed by her confidante of a situation of backstabbing by an insider. Disillusioned, she then uses this information to her strength and advantage to influence the king in “The Game of Chess” and take over the situation. The elements of each image, the expressions, the metaphors, the heightened drama, all combine to compliment the virtue of the artist.
An aesthetically powerful rendition of the subject, Pushpamala has incessantly re-invented herself over the years, combining theatre, photography and video to explore and magnify the satire of culture and society.