Harvest, A Land of Plenty


Rithika Merchant’s paintings are allegorical. They occupy the intersections of mythologies from across cultures to generate modern narratives that look into a re-imagined present. She paints the form of her characters with striking attention, using the medium of gouache to her advantage, as she layers washes of colours with opaque textures onto stained papers. With anthropomorphic figuration in rich colours painted against muted botanical backgrounds, her methodology results in a retro-futuristic aesthetic, suggestive of archives or recordings from undiscovered utopias (or dystopias).

Her series, ‘Birth of a New World,’ probes into the climate crisis while centering the role of humanity within it. Merchant titles her work after natural phenomenon and conditions that extend outwards from earthly scenes like that of a harvest to intergalactic events.

In “Harvest, A Land of Plenty”, we see a convergence of realities as multiple events unravel on the two-dimensional picture plain. While the former questions the notions of truth in our ever-evolving dreams, the latter’s political significance lies in the way “it seems to allude to the plunder that we indulge in, with our incredibly insensitive handling of our planet and its resources”, says Paul Abraham, founder at Sarmaya.

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Harvest, A Land of Plenty
Rithika Merchant
Mixed media collage with gouache, ink and magazine cut outs on paper
H: 35.8 cm x W: 98.8 cm (each)
Accession No.