Gouri Vemula’s Mahabharatam


After exploring multiple texts, Gouri Vemula chose to work on the Mahabaratham, citing it as “a treasure house of the Indian culture, an insight into the attainments and solutions to all problems – even though none of these could avert the 18 day war that ensued.” Gouri avoids any trace of color. Instead the monumental work is conceived in somber grey tones with only dry point and pencil as her mediums. Using ‘hands’ as her central leitmotif in the visualization of each sequence, Gouri enhances the drama by employing strange, oblique perspectives and angles that highlight the frenetic energy of the protagonists with muscular tautness. Centralizing Krishna as her chief protagonist Gouri portrays Lord Krishna’s transcendental knowledge with the undercurrent of mathematical concepts employed by him. The artist’s focus is on “the vows, curses and boons that time and again play into the karmic cycle of karma and kala.”

Mahabharatam was launched at Art Heritage during The Art Book Exhibiton, 2019. View installation shots of the show here.

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