Rasika Reddy’s interpretations of womanhood embrace a feminised aesthetic

It’s a clear domination of pallid and metallic colours in Rasika Reddy’s works titled, Sacred Vanity II. The paintings seek to denote the all pervasive power of womanhood. The paintings celebrate the many faces and moods of a woman.

All her paintings exhibit a portrait of woman. While some express anger, some showcase contemplation, the eyes do most of the talking. Engaging the viewer in a personal fashion, the works lead you into a dialogue with the works. The women look real and plain and all the flamboyance, décor and ornamentation is added creating separate layers. Some of the faces draw you in, while others push you away. The eyes in most paintings appear closed, symbolising the prevailing nature and power of womanhood. The works need to be looked at as single entities instead as a collection.

Most cultures and societies in India have a strong female form and this concept is idolised. These forms have the ability to nurture, develop and destroy. The paintings seek to interpret that very concept of a feminine power, where without equality for women, the world can be pushed into an egregious imbalance. Each picture has a story to tell. Beauty and gender perceptive looms large in Rasika Reddy’s interpretations. While there is a common theme of front-face portraits, she mixes it up with bizarre and shiny surface decoration, by way of paper cuttings — stuck and painted on, or by using faux buttons and beads. This creates two layers to the paintings — the surface and the depth; both need to be understood. The paintings embraced a feminised aesthetic. She has tried to make a statement expressing cultural symbolisms. A couple of her paintings have a collage of passport sized and miniature cut-outs of feminine symbols, icons and Godesses in various cultures. These collage elements are juxtaposed with the ideas of strong modern women. In those representations lies the idea that womanhood needs to be accepted in its entirety