Malavika Rajnarayan

Malavika Rajnarayan

artist bio

Malavika Rajnarayan was born in Hyderabad, India in 1982 and grew up in Bangalore completing her B.F.A in painting from the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in 2003. She completed her postgraduation in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.University of Baroda in 2006 and has made Baroda her home ever since. Malavika had her first solo exhibition in Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi in 2008. Her works have also been exhibited in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad in India and at the 2007 Sosabeol Art Expo in South Korea. She was the recipient of the Nasreen Mohammedi scholarship for post-graduate study in 2005 and the Promising Young Artist award by the Fundacao Orient, Goa in 2003. She has presented lectures at EWHA University in Seoul, South Korea, College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and conducted short workshops at NID, Ahmedabad and at non-profit organisations for women and children. Malavika's paintings use the human figure to explore notions of the self and its relation to a larger collective consciousness. Her background in Indian classical music as well as her interest in the progression of Asian art and knowledge traditions forms the conceptual basis for her art, writing, teaching and workshops. Her visual language is informed by miniature painting traditions, where the poignancy of ideas is conveyed through beauty, grace and poetry. In addition to this is a recurring preoccupation with evoking the ethereal and ephemeral. The narratives, infused with a feminine sensibility, are fed by everyday experiences but removed from references. They offer a multitude of meanings to be extracted by each viewer.

artist statement

The human body fascinates me as a vast space of evocation and I draw the figure to understand strength and to celebrate fragility. My interest in painting the human figure is perhaps also determined by my interaction with people; when sometimes notions of the self and the other begin to blur. I am interested in building narratives out of anything, to push the parameters of plausible understanding. Although scientific rationale and the poetics of imagination hold equal fascination for me, what lies between fact and fiction has always drawn me to narrative traditions and story-telling. The feminine experience holds pertinence for me in shaping a collective conscience; in addition to a constant desire for generating perspectives that can transform the mundane into magical experiences. Everyday, news from around the world presents a version of what we believe to be true and yet, it exposes how easily truth is hijacked and manipulated for personal and political gain. When violence is dressed in beauty, is it then more bearable? Can beauty and refinement become catalysts that provoke us towards a deeper perception of ourselves?

Under One Sky

"Sometimes, I carry back with me sights that exude an intensity of experience, lingering in my mind for many days for better comprehension; and at other times, I may come across a visual that sets off an endless chain of associations and evocations. Walking through a crowded lane in a city, I am often confronted by the fact that ideas of home and an outer world, private and public, are all blurred into one. It seems to take only a fleeting moment, which can make the beginnings of a painting. What do I pick from all that I see under this vast sky?"

Threading a City

"The intensity of everyday visuals in a city like Mumbai never fails to impact me on each visit. On a by-lane, I saw a little girl performing a tight-rope walk to entertain a crowd; a task that would have earned her the next meal ....

... I feel privileged to watch her from my taxi window and contemplate on a painting I would make on returning to my studio in Baroda. The following is a stanza from a translation of a Chinese poem by Lin Ling that I have selected as a point of imaginative departure.

This time, the second time I have come,
I dream no more the vastness.
With hands behind my back,
I walk from one end to the other
I am thinking-
How can so slight a thread tie up a city?"

Malavika Rajnarayan