Soaring Beyond The Self by Renuka Sondhi Gulati

Existence in the multiple spheres and their skillful juggling like a clever Goddess make a contemporary woman relevant unto herself and to the rest of the world. Anyone who succumbs to the public and private pressures is destined to become stains of tears that she herself would perhaps hate to see. That means a woman in the contemporary world is expected to hold, analyze, understand and act upon her own life instead brooding over the lost chances and bygone opportunities. In such a life whatever she creates becomes an expression of her own freedom as well as a model of freedom that the women around her could emulate. Looking at the present body of works by Renuka Sondhi Gulati, as an art critic, who has written on her works earlier as well, I could definitely say that she has left behind the early skepticism about her own divided existence as a public artist and a private person and has become a person who has successfully fused the public and private selves into one. In these works one could see the vigorous negotiations between spaces, a critique on the technological and emotional submission of women by the socio-economic forces, the external spaces of self assertion and the internal spaces of contemplation and reconciliation.

While Renuka as an artist employs the image of an eagle as a symbol of feminine freedom, ambition and ability to fly high, she very skillfully brings forth her own self as well as a surrogate self and attributes them with a sort of iconic nature. Like Lord Vishnu who sleeps horizontally on the serpent of Time in the ocean of wisdom, here in Renuka’s works the central female protagonist is seen in a horizontal position as if she were in the process of creation and in the creative slumber as the male Gods do. The same mythological concept comes to the fore when she uses her sculptural family unit complete with an umbilical code running up with a foetal Figure in the Divine sleep. This myth of genesis or the myth of creation that we see in Indian mythologies (the way Brahma comes out of the lotus sprouting from the sleeping Vishnu’s navel) is aesthetically carried over to the sculptures by the artist. To prove this point, we have another sculpture from her in which the female protagonist is seen lying horizontally in her creative slumber.

  • Kalakriti Art Gallery
  • Date: April 7, 2018 - April 17, 2018