Madhavi Parekh’s practice comprises of tableaus that choose a course of their own without much premeditation on the part of the creator. Highly inspired by the works of Miro, Clemente and Paul Klee, Parekh’s artworks border on a mix of figurative and abstract, often also bordering on surrealism, while picking themes and subjects that affected her childhood. Throughout her artistic journey, she has focused on representing all that has been part of her subconscious, surfacing onto her pictorial field in myriad ways.\n\nThe artist’s representations also bear the influence of her travels, and in this instance, this untitled acrylic on canvas, clearly depicts the impact of her trip to Israel, where the figure of Christ and the fables associated with Christianity intrigued her and found their way into her canvases. She consequently went on to create a series of paintings that portrayed Jesus in multifarious ways. This rendition shows him as the primary subject, recognized from the symbol of cross jutting upwards from his face, and the crown of thorns resting on his head. The painting carries elements of surrealism where the various forms and figures in the canvas seem like an amalgamation of a narrative ready to unfold any moment. Several miniature human portraits are painted on the upper body of Christ by the artist, while on his right shoulder is placed a form that resembles a hybrid of 2 crosses- one at the base and the other at the apex, a tiny male portrait and a pine tree traditionally used for Christmas festivities.\n\nOn his left side, a full human figure is depicted against a cross, and alongside, another human head with horns portrayed above it. The base is occupied by two bird heads sharing the same body, with rows of signs painted across them. The topmost area shows a minuscule rendition of the sun and stars. The work brings together different aspects from the life of Christ, through a captivating display. A self-taught artist, Madhavi Parekh’s art has assimilated elements from her rural surroundings during her growing up years, the folk idiom, Panchatantra tales, mythology, the art of Kalamkari and Pichwai, blending them with the urban setting of her later life. This painting, likewise, displays a simple charm through a vivid palette, experimenting with a widely explored subject, giving it a voice through the artist's point of view, effortlessly weaving a narrative through an array of figures and forms.

Untitled by Madhavi Parekh

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  • Born in 1942 in Sanjaya near Ahmedabad, Madhavi Parekh’s artistic practice is informed by her day to day experiences and observations, deeply seeped in a unique mix of rural and urban vocabulary, carrying elements from various folk arts across the country. Her artworks revolve around the depictions of her childhood memories, presented in a manner that carry a dreamlike aura. She has been a recipient of numerous awards such as the Government of India Senior Fellowship, 979 National Award from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 1979 and French Government Scholarship for Fine Arts to study in Paris in 1970. Her works have been part of various exhibitions around the world such as Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai, Gallery Bose Pacia Modern, New York, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Gallery Foundation for Indian Artists (F.I.A), Amsterdam, Netherlands, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany and many more.

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