Rithika Merchant's Mythography - Homegrown

Rithika Merchant's Mythography

Rithika Merchant (1986) deals with creating mosaics of myths that question received histories that are available to us throughout culture. Her most recent body of work which shares the underlying current of 'Mythography' running through it is a stellar representation of the same.
Born and raised in Mumbai and now settled down in Barcelona, 'Mythography' is finally doing the rounds, albeit only for a month, in the city so we thought we'd give you a sneak peek into what you can expect if you do decide to check it out.
It is an exploration of epics and myths across geography. Derived from an attempt at self discovery, it is aimed towards solving contemporary strife created by what we may describe as a conflict of civilizations, which is negated by locating a mythical strain of unanimity.
Her Monomyth is a conversation with Joseph Campbell's theory of the Hero/Monomyth. She created a myth that discusses a woman as a Hero. Somewhere the works are autobiographical, as each time she returned to the city, she was made to feel unwelcome with its hostility towards women, a changing urban scape that often sees the city divide into pockets of gated communities and an ever-increasing insensitivity to our fellow inhabitants. Her works celebrate a certain past that might arise of a certain nostalgia of freedom and diversity the city once offered. Also for the need of myth, with a female protagonist unlike the epics we have received across religions.
Without further ado, here's your sneak peek at Mythography along with brief descriptions for each mosaic.
I. Meeting With The Goddess
A transfusion of the past awaited our Hero, she came to meet her Mother, she has not feared the encounter, for she now has courage to face her journey. She will leave, soon back on the circular path of adventure, that will see her return to her Goddess. The Goddess is not to renounce her child for it is a ‘privilege’ left to men. Emotion is not seen as an illusion, for the womb engulfs the pain of departure in physicality once and each time the Hero leaves. II. Supernatural Guides
In her land cats are a contemptuous species of ill-luck and infertility, feline femininity irks man into fear. He fears unknown strengths. The cats find the Hero, they enact the role of guides in her path towards the gates of individuality, to which they hold the key. They know the Hero shall release them from the contempt history lays on them , their awaited saviour - strengths unknown to her. III. Earth Diver
She reclaims a few grains of sand from the womb of the sea, sand that would harvest into land for her progeny to inhabit. IV. The Magic Flight
A divine eagle carries the Hero in her flight helping in her return. Baser creatures fight for the twigs of the discarded tree and her discarded skin. The twigs are to manifest onto their bodies feeding parasitically on their fears.V. Creation From Nothing/ Within
An eruption of species, they descend from his mouth, those who agree with this evolution will come to share his faith. A myth about humans. If you'd like to view the project in its entirety, the exhibition will be held at Mumbai's Art and Soul Gallery from Friday, October 4th till Thursday, October 24th.
Words: Sumesh Sharma, 2013

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