Mother and Child


“Mother and Child” is a live portrait of a woman and her child who had just moved in next-door to Siji Krishnan. In the image we find representational elements like the red comb that was in the woman’s hair when she first met the artist, but most of it, as Krishnan suggests, is more about mapping the sensorial and intimate nature of live portraiture, the back and forth between the artist and the sitter as well as how the artist’s emotionality translates onto the picture surface.

The decision to draw the mother and child was unplanned and sudden, unlike her other works, which explains the shift from the intricate marks characteristic to Krishnan’s practice, to a more gestural and immediate approach to her figures. The suppleness of her surface is reflective of the kind of attachment and care seen between the mother and the child. This tenderness seeps into her painterly figurations and is a quality that can also be seen in the paintings of Celia Paul, an Indian-born British artist and one of Krishnan’s influences.

Siji Krishnan was born in 1983 in Mavelikkara, Kerala in South India. She was born and raised in the countryside of South India, and her vivid imagery from village life here has appeared as a recurring theme in her artworks, particularly during the initial stages of her artistic career. Krishnan’s paintings have a characteristic texture and tone that is a result of using a largely earthy colour palette on multiple layers of watered down paint that is added to a handmade-layered rice paper surface.

Mother and Child
Siji Krishnan
Watercolour on rice paper
H: 81.2 cm x W: 71.1 cm
Accession No.