Saturday, 3 December 2016

Miss Lily….don't be silly!

Miss Lily is our newest member of the Sauparnika clan. Don't get me wrong, Begum our cat still rules supreme, however with a little segregation laws imposed! Well the story as always centres around me not being able to turn off the switch on my emotions and look the other way when anyone is the underdog (excuse the pun!). So as one thing led to another with me getting into spaying and neutering my street dogs, this one heart throb Miss Lily with her silly ways always seemed to get the raw end from her male gully friends - and in particular was rather bullied by her ever so swishy brother, Coffee. 

So after watching many raucous sessions over scraps thrown at them by well meaning neighbours that ended up into snarling battles as there was never ever enough food to satisfy their growling tummies, I started feeding them pet food each night. I thought now I would rest easy and that they would let by-gones be by-gones and wag a tail  in peace and harmony.

However on my return from a short trip away from home I discovered Miss Lily badly injured and unable to stand up. Either hit by a vehicle or beaten by some irate neighbour because they dig holes in peoples gardens, she was not in a good shape at all. Now being so vulnerable the male dogs were even more hostile and intent on playing the bully boys to the hilt, loosing no opportunity to attack her, almost as a time-pass activity amongst themselves. So I bundled her off in the animal ambulance and sent her to my veterinarian friend Dr. Angela Lobo to be kept in her hospital till she recovered. After a full checkup and complete grooming the doctor suggested I temporarily board her in my garage and see her through her dose of antibiotics. So plan of action all set into place, I put her into the garage. Now truth be told I hate confinements that appear like prison time and seeing this poor frightened soul  in a corner of our garage  looking rather bemused, turned my heart upside down and made me feel like a wicked witch minus a pointy hat and broom.

So I frantically started calling up friends to see if anyone would like a dog as a pet…..and of course the answers were many polite refusals! Then I thought of asking my friend Mini Buddiraj who is a friend of all the street dogs she ever encounters, and who has a farm house purely designated to housing her stray friends. She immediately agreed and so off we went with all of Miss Lily's paraphernalia - bed, food, bowls, blanket etc and handed her over to Mini. This was at around 11 am that day.

At 7 pm the same day, just when I was about to step into a CCD cafe for a quick cup of my favourite Hazelnut cappuccino,  my phone rang. Mini was on the other end and told me that Miss Lily was completely traumatised, was refusing to eat, and was not allowing anyone anywhere near her. So immediately we abandoned our coffee session and set off to meet with Mini at a designated location from where we then drove with her to her dog shelter, to pick up Miss Lily!

Of course as all guilty mothers do I told Miss Lily a huge white lie. I told  her I had merely left her for a picnic date with friends!!! She was just so relieved to see us that I think she would have bought any darned excuse to get rescued from her own misery. We then bundled her off home and the story has a happy ending! She now reigns supreme on the ground floor of Sauparnika, whilst Begum sits like the true matriarch that she is up in our private quarters on the first floor. They both are given turns equally to be in my studio which is on the second floor,   so peace and harmony regions for the moment with no border violations occurring.

Surendran looks on rather nervously as he enters home these days from his studio, because he doesn't quite know whether some other four legged friend from the outside world has found sanctuary at Sauparnika. I must admit I am rather tempted, as I do believe a pink Beatrice Potter pig and a Picasso-esq goat may well and truly add a touch of class to the existing menagerie we are at The Collective Studio Baroda at Sauparnika …so lets just wait and watch….Noah's arc may well and truly return! 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Hello …I'm back.

It has been a long while since I have written my blog. When my mother passed away in January of 2014 I think I was so completely devastated by the suddenness of her death that I buried myself  into my work  so that I could cope with my loss. My studio hours grew longer and my sleep-time became even more reduced, leaving me vulnerable to falling ill and worn down by sheer exhaustion on one too many occasion. I have come to realise that for myself I don't believe I will ever grow to miss her less over time. That's a myth propagated by those who don't know what loss is really all about.  However I  also knew that my mother would be rather mortified by the teary soul that I had become, and so I thought long and hard and knew that I had to find a strategy by which I could negotiate my own peace settlement with my anguish. Travel has always been the map that helps me to formulate my ideational territories and trigger introspection that is soul searching. And so I did just that. I  walked away from my disciplined studio routine chose to steep my mind into art history and the contemporary practices of other artists - to look and immerse myself in re-tracings and new discoveries of art and traditional cultural practices. 

I set my compass from my personal desire. I visited South Korea for two weeks in September to see the Gwangju biennale and visit Seoul. I spent most of my time with Kim Seola  and Lee Hayan in both these cities. Both artists had been with us as art students and resident artists at The Collective Studio Baroda for a protracted period of time. This destination was chosen because Seola was being presented in the Gwangju Biennale and Hayan was getting married shortly, so for me it was a visit of great preciousness. The time spent with them unfolded discourses and reverie amidst late nights of fun and a studio visit with Seola way past midnight  above  a karaoke bar, with us sipping green tea and talking about her work.  

On the eve of my departure from Seoul I made a sudden plan to break journey in Bangkok for a week. Their traditional art is exquisite and they have a national museum of seven buildings which houses some magnificent art of the past to view. Thailand has a vibrant street culture. I love the street food of this country and so each night I would pick up large quantities of mouth watering delicacies  and finger wipe my plate  to the last crumb! With my own history interlaced with this country and great memories of my teenage years growing up with Thai friends who frequented our home regularly in Baroda; my visit to Bangkok provided me the space to reconnect with memories of my mother that were cherished and deeply personal. 

With a short stint home and a commission work to execute, I had a brief period of intense work that was really very stimulating. This provided for me the appropriate link for my next travel to commence. Spain was the country I had chosen to travel to, and so   the 2nd of October to the 5th of November got marked up on my calendar - making up a month and a few days of wanderlust and time unfettered by the demands of work and other daily commitments of management to attend to . An exacting itinerary of twelve cities were detailed and researched under my supervision by Divya  who is at The Collective Studio Baroda (TCSB). I was accompanied by Ankush Safaya,  one of the resident artists of TCSB, and so the evenings each day in Spain became a time to explore and decipher Spanish food from menus's that were often without English translations'  and which therefore made an interesting area of discoveries -  with a few mishaps that make for great anecdotes!

I spent my birthday in the Prado museum and saw the Guernica by Pablo Picasso once again after many years.  Spain gave to me so much art  to view. It was as though this warm and hospitable  country  knew my need and set out to comfort me with an embrace of art  that engulfed my sensibilities and rebooted me just as I required. The trail of museums were many and the list of artists too long to share, but suffice to say I met up with old friends from the annals of art history who spoke back to me with the same intensity and once again demanded my accountability through the perceptions I formulated.

I came back to India and within the next fortnight (and on the spur of the moment) decided to visit Kangra, Chandighar, Hoshiyarpur, Dharamshala and Mclouedganj. Driving with Divya and Ankush in these hilly regions brought alive the miniature paintings that I love so much from these regions.

Family took me back into a plane again within days. I went for a family wedding to Bangalore. There, memories of my mother were almost 360 degrees and more. Meeting up with her relatives, I found the echo of her past in so many places. My mother was  much loved and so many stories about her youth and childhood were unknowingly gifted to me.

I'm back in my studio again…

My mother looks back at me quizzically from her photograph that I have on my work desk. Perhaps she knows too well the dilemmas of love and loss herself and understands how much I miss her. But I can now look back at her without my vision being too blurred. I think she is rather pleased about that because weepy children were never her cup of tea.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Rituals of Memory-Personal folklores & other tales

The exhibition The Rituals of Memory : Personal folklore & other tales that opens at Aicon Gallery in New York has a selection of work from the last nine years  which deals with my interest in creating personal mythologies as the stage for larger narratives to be explored.

The best part of a show is the day the works get displayed. The shift from having lived with the works in my studio during their making to their existence in the white cube space brings a critical distance to my relationship with them.

I usually spend time seated in the gallery as the gallery team works to mount the show in the space. Surrounded by the  energies that are invested to present the exhibition I am able to view my work away from the emotional space of ownership and this process of detachment is one that allows me a discourse of value with the work.

I had an interesting conversation over lunch with Prajit Dutta the director of Aicon Gallery where we spoke about how geographical boundaries should no longer trap art into being ghettoised; and where contextualised meanings should be open to interpretations by the experiences that individuals bring to their understanding of what they view.

Cultural differences will always exist and art and other creative practises will be born from the womb of where it is fed and nurtured in its inception. However where the final product is then placed to be viewed does not depend on whether these cultural factors are known to an audience. What becomes important is that the curiosities of people are awakened which will then lead to meanings and comprehension  to be established.

It will be interesting at the opening tomorrow because I will be having a formal conversation about my work with Danial Herwitz, a philosopher and an old friend who I haven't met up with in many years. He is the son of  Chester & Davida Herwitz who were collectors of Contemporary Indian art. This exhibition also has a selection of works from the Herwitz collection that was purchased by Aicon gallery.

As the texts go up on the walls and the paintings sit well arranged in their designated places, I have slowly become a viewer of sorts within the space. In a few days I will be back in Baroda working on a new set of works. I don't know when I will sit surrounded by these works again, especially placed as they are in this configuration. They will exist away from me - separated and independent of me. 

My solo show opens at Aicon Gallery in New York 
4th February 2016
6 to 9 pm
If you are in New York
Please Do Come.

Aicon Gallery
35 great Jones Street
New York

For enquires regarding the show
please contact

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Rekha Rodwittiya in conversation with Jyoti Bhatt episodes 4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14

I am delighted to share the remaining episodes of
 Rekha Rodwittiya in conversation with Jyoti Bhatt
All 14 episodes are available on U Tube.

I have made them available to archival data-bases and art & cultural institutions on a pen drive, and am happy to extend this offer to any legitimate institution that desires this documentation for their students, research scholars or faculty members.

It has been my greatest delight and privilege to have archived some of the thoughts and ideas of Prof. Jyoti Bhatt and to share it with others. It is often a chanced upon interlude that can open up spaces for considerate that give greater meaning to ones life. Jyotibhai is an artist of extreme value to Indian Contemporary art history and this endeavour has been to offer insights into his life and work.  

Episode 4 :-
Episode 5 :-
Episode 6 :-
Episode 7 :-
Episode 8 :-
Episode 9 :-
Episode 10 :-
Episode 11 :-
Episode 12 :-
Episode 13 :-
Episode 14 :-

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A filmed interview ….

An interview recorded by the Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh

Monday, 15 June 2015

Rekha Rodwittiya in conversation with Jyoti Bhatt

Watch Rekha Rodwittiya in conversation with Jyoti Bhatt 

 Episode 1 on YouTube -

Episode 2 on YouTube -

Episode 3 on YouTube -

The remaining episodes will be uploaded onto youtube within the next three months.