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Updated: October 23, 2013 21:00 IST

The tradition of devotion

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Similar, yet different: Ritu’s imagery and choice of colours
Similar, yet different: Ritu’s imagery and choice of colours

Ritu Gupta interprets Indian miniatures and the Radha and Krishna motif in her latest exhibition

The iconography of Krishna and Radha and their idealism has survived and inspired art for hundreds of years through Indian folk art, notably through the tradition of miniatures and murals. And it still continues to inspire, as the Kanpur-based artist Ritu Gupta shows in her exhibition “Radha Raman” that is on view at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.

The overarching theme of her works is the relationship between Radha and Krishna. “I am basically a spiritual painter. After working on a series on Ganesha and the Sri Yantra, I decided to paint Krishna and Radha. I have always been intrigued by their relationship because they never married. Yet their love was real, pure and nischal, where both of them gave up so much,” says Ritu.

Respect and worship

“People look upon their relationship with so much respect and till today, worship the couple. So I was clear that I wanted to depict their relationship.”

Ritu’s paintings are inspired by different styles of Indian folk art, predominantly miniatures such as those of the Kangra school or even Chola bronzes.

“I was inspired by the Rajasthan miniatures too, but my paintings do not imitate these styles. I have taken elements from these works and interpreted them in my vision.” She retains the flat imagery, the composition, typically set against a natural backdrop, as well as the style of figuration.But her works are larger than the traditional miniatures and vary in the use of colour. Ritu employs bold, vibrant, sometimes unusual (for miniatures) colours both in her backgrounds as well as in her figures, using shades of red, cobalt or inky blue, mustard yellow or beige along with shades of pistachio or lime green.

“But I have played around in the way I depict the various elements, for instance I have played around with the composition of the trees and flowers. The idea behind my works is to merge traditional art with contemporary art, I want to popularise traditional art because it is dying.”

Ritu’s imagery, is both similar to and different from the traditional miniatures but she retains the intricacy, delicacy and vibrancy that characterises the art form.

“Radha Raman” will be on view until October 26 at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Kumara Krupa Road. For details, contact 09415067901.

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