We’re not similar
Insists legendary painter Raja Ravi Varma’s great-great-granddaughter, also an artist.art and culture Updated: Jun 08, 2011 15:50 IST
It’s commonplace by now for Radhika Varma Hormusjee to be compared to her illustrious great-great-grandfather, Raja Ravi Varma.
And every time she is asked whether his work has inspired hers, she has a ready retort. “Our work doesn’t have much in common,” she argues, adding, “The rough settings are similar sometimes. We’ve both painted women in various postures, but my works are my own.”
Birds and bees Radhika also points out that birds are among her favourite subjects, in contrast to her Varma, who didn’t paint nature or animals.
In her upcoming exhibit in the city, she will exhibit two series — one on women in nature, and the other on birds. “The former consists of oils on canvas, while the latter explores mediums like charcoal, pastels, watercolours and even chalk,” she says.
The artist also loves conjuring figures from her own imagination. “I want to bring out a surreal aspect in my paintings. Many of these birds, flowers and women are not typical or realistic. They are created entirely by me,” she explains. “The colours aren’t real either. You’ll see bodies in blue, green and purple.”
Bangalore-based Radhika has also trained in textile design, and that’s given her a conscious understanding of patterns and symbols, which she spots at unlikely locations like a bird sanctuaries.
These aroused her interest in birds. “I was intrigued by their form, their long, winding necks. I did a lot of sketches and started composing a number of pictures there and then,” she enthuses.
How their works compare n Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. The Travancore-based artist was best known for his oil paintings depicting women, and scenes from mythology.
After a closer look at both artists’ works, it’s evident that despite stark similarities in some of their themes and postures, Radhika’s works are more driven by fantasy and surrealism as compared to her great-great-grandfather’s.
Encounters will be displayed at Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, from June 8 – 14.