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Sreeju Radhakrishnan
Acrylic on Canvas 60 X 36 Inches Contemporary
My works have always been a reinvestigation and the re-presentation of the idea of native in and from various historical representations. By simulating an imaginary sequence I present a tableau of absurd acts, which are but recognizable. I draw my references from multiple resources ranging from colonial period photographs, watercolors, official documents, kitsch and popular paintings, popular floats used in state parades, landscapes of masters etc. By using these references I create a backdrop, a setting or an artificial landscape and make actors to perform certain acts. The characters in the setting are actually drawn or inspired from my surrounding day-to-day mundane life and events. But I transform these characters by doing them in spectacular attires of colonial period like that of a “sepoy” or a British officer. This transformation enables me to completely alter different positional dynamics of the characters when seen in political and historical contexts. Even the prerogative acts are mundane like drinking, fishing, walking and gardening etc. But these very ordinary acts while performed by characters with a particular attire transposes them to historical contexts which then makes us to reimagine certain notions/beliefs. The absurd looking acts actually are intended to subvert the stern authoritative power that operates through these characters and notions associated with them. Similarly the landscapes with the flora and fauna ground the whole in the regional and local context. My enquiry also is about the organization of the space within the picture plane. I feel it’s in organization and the placement of the characters and the setting of their ground, the politics and ideology gains a material presence and existence within the painting. Apart from the subject’s references, it’s in the formal structural placements the language and the politics of language emerge.
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