Archetypes of Freedom Is A Photo Essay Of Ritualistic, Magical, & Macabre Beings

The Wood Witch - Archetypes of Freedom
The Wood Witch - Archetypes of Freedom

Pretika Menon is a Goa-based Photographer who captures the dramatic in everyday for her characters. She has been working with alternative fashion and her work is inspired by cinema, socio-political issues, queer issues, and cultural and post-colonial issues and the female gaze. Surrealism and Dadaism have also influenced her practice. The photographer has created a bizarre but mesmering visual language for herself that portray multidimensional characters with undertones of absurdism and dark humour.

Pretika is one of the most refreshing and revolutionary visual artists working in India today whose work is ever-evolving. In an interview with Homegrown, the artist speaks about her projects and inspirations that you can read below.

What are some of your biggest influences as an artist?

The movie ‘Delicatessen’, Tim Walker, Marilyn Manson (until he got called out, sigh!) Solange, FKA Twigs

Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?

Elizaveta Porodina, Cosmic Roach, Tyler Mitchell.

A project you wish you were a part of?

Fenti x Savage campaigns

What are some things you learned while putting this project together?

That you can make something with the purest of intentions, and not everyone will get it.

The Insideer- Archetypes of Freedom
The Insideer- Archetypes of FreedomPretika Menon

Tell us about your project.

The Archetypes of Freedom is an expedition towards a world in which the protagonists can exist in their magical and macabre selves. The photo essay seeks to construct and embody themes of daily ritualistic existence. It is an effort to look at the political through the personal, a freedom of expression, a photo-poetic insight into lives lived authentically in exile. This is called ‘Wood Witch’ and is part of my first NFT collection (Archetype of freedom).

What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

Going back to childhood memories of reading the entire Amar Chitra kadha digest series & encyclopedias that my grandpa bought and kept for me and my sis before he died, when we were babies, knowing we would grow up reading them. And the stories my grandma used to tell me, a new one every time; wholesome stories of adventure, explorations, community and bravery from across India and the world. There’s something really gentle and fulfilled about the passing on of stories and knowledge about things and the world around us, especially from grandparents. They did it with the aim to just give, and fill our heads with imagination, wonder and love for the planet.

The Mud Queen - Archetypes of Freedom
The Mud Queen - Archetypes of FreedomPretika Menon

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

It’s like trying to sort out ideas one by one, picking the right time and place for the right story. Sometimes I have to talk about it a lot to even find the right person for the role. It’s a lot to do with collaboration and sharing space with other artists. I’m also sifting through my own and other’s personal experiences to find stories that want to be heard.

Follow Pretika here.