‘Goddess Category’ & ‘Non-Goddess Category’


In this set of paintings—titled Goddess Category: Goddess & Non-Goddess (painting on the left) and Non-Goddess Category: Goddess & Non-Goddess (painting on the right)—the artist exposes how women are simultaneously deified and demonised by Indian society. In the painting on the left, an eight-armed god is represented as female but with the head of a cow. She is  surrounded by a golden halo and clearly held in great reverence by the bowing humans below. In the painting on the right, the halo is a muddy blue and it holds a woman struck down by the arrows piercing into her back. Below are gathered people aiming their bows right at her. Through this juxtaposition, the artist seems to be asking why women need to acquire the attributes of a sacred animal, the holy cow, to be seen as worthy of respect, or at least to be safe from harm.

Dibin Thilakan was born in Thrissur, Kerala. After graduating from the town’s College of Fine Arts in 2010, he collaborated with a Latin American theatre group, experimenting with various aspects of the performing arts. He then went on to acquire his masters in painting from the SN School of Art and Communication, Hyderabad University, and returned to Thrissur to establish his studio. “Most of my batch-mates migrated to art hubs like Mumbai but I decided to come back and settle down in Kerala. It’s so beautiful here,” he said in an interview with Sarmaya—read and see other works by the artist in our collection here.

'Goddess Category' & 'Non-Goddess Category'
Dibin Thilakan
Gouache and watercolour on hand-made paper
(Both paintings) With frame - H: 93.3 cm x W: 73 cm; Without frame - H: 74.8 cm x W: 54.5 cm
Accession No.
2019.17.6, 2019.17.7