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Ratheesh T., realism, oil on canvas, environmental art, Kerala, Trivandrum, Malayali, communism, rice flour, coconut

How Are You, Who Are You?, 2018 

Oil on canvas

78 x 120 in / 198 x 305 cm 

Ratheesh T.'s oils on canvas at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, from the 5th of September to the 20th of November, seem to defiantly guard aspects of life that come to constitute meaning and identity within his immediate community. The nonchalant naked artist standing in the centre of the room in I Am (Cleaning Pond) greets the viewer rather defensively. The ripped wall of the house exposes us to the nullah over which it is probably built. The clothes scattered all over the furniture create an uninviting environment. Any attempth by the viewer to know more about this mess is rejected by the artist's smirk and is assertively shielded by his bare body. 

In How Are You, Who Are You?, the semi-naked artist, now wrapped in his lungi, is busy with the ritualistic preparation of puttu in the kitchen — with grated coconut kept on a table and the pressure-cooker on the counter alongside. As he fills up the puttu vessel with rice flour and coconut, he alerts himself, yet allows the pigeons who appear to be regular visitors to the kitchen, free play of the room. Showing his back, the artist seems too engrossed in his domestic chores to engage with the viewers. Kiss (Clear Pond) presents a daughter and father sharing an intimate moment at the edge of a lake. Filling up the backgroudn, the lake with floating flowers, reflecting skies and buildings, frames and isolates the two from the rest of the world.

(Excerpt from Anuj Daga's review in ARTIndia)

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