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December 28, 2017

Why You Must Catch Rithika Merchant’s ‘Where The Water Takes Us’ Exhibition

Text by Huzan Tata

Travel through the world of epics and myths as the artist addresses questions of displacement and migration in her canvases…

Click on any image to view in larger gallery

She was born in Mumbai, the city that’s home to the beautiful Queen’s Necklace along its coastline, and soon made Barcelona in Europe her home, where she currently lives and works. And both homes have been influences throughout this artist’s life. Water being a key motif in her creations, and displacement a strong running theme throughout her art – influenced by the refugee migrations to Europe – Rithika Merchant’s first solo show at Tarq includes a striking mosaic of epics and myths that bring out these ideas. Her poetic visuals – primarily in gouache and ink on paper – will stay with you long after a viewing, and will compel you to contemplate on the issues they address. Travel through histories and changing times as you escape into Merchant’s world…

5 Questions with Rithika Merchant 

  1. Artistic Motivations “I’ve always seen stories and ideas visually and have always felt compelled to bring these visions to life. For me, manifesting these ideas comes naturally. I have my own lexicon of symbols and creatures that I use in my work as tools while I visualise these ideas.”
  2. InspirationsTravel, as it helps me learn about other cultures and educates my world view. Nature, especially science and the processes behind its varied forms. I am also intrigued by biology – especially that of the human body – and it’s implications.”
  3. On the wall at homeKiki Smith, Hilma af Klint, Mithu Sen, Walton Ford and Kerry James Marshall. I also really want a David Shrigley piece for my studio.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your artThe mass displacement of people, forced migration, and the dislocation and exile of groups of people all over the world are very troubling to me. Living in Barcelona, I have felt very helpless watching the European refugee crisis unfold right at my doorstep. My current show deals with the profound effect this has had on me.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be… An archaeologist. I’ve always been interested in history and relics. Uncovering hidden artefacts and piecing together remnants from the past would be very satisfying. It’s also detail-oriented and requires a lot of patience, which is an aspect I would enjoy as well.”

Where The Water Takes Us is on display at Tarq, Mumbai (F35/36, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Colaba) until January 13, 2018. 

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