“Mother” was painted on Siji Krishnan’s return from a residency at the Koganecho Art Center in Yokohama, Japan. Centred alone in the painting is a lady holding a contemplative expression, evoking a sense of solitude as she seems at complete ease with her body and the cat in her lap.

The decision to draw this live portraits 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 suggestive of the kind of attachment and care seen between the woman and the cat, or a mother and a child. This tenderness seeps into her painterly figurations and is also a quality that can 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.

Siji Krishnan
Watercolour on Rice Paper
H: 71.1 cm x W: 78.7 cm
Accession No.