Comparative Mythology by Rithika Merchant
I use painting as a means of telling stories which are inspired by experiences from my childhood and my present life. I explore themes of personification and anthropomorphism, where animals embody human attributes; be it in bodily form, or the environment they are placed in.
I am interested in the patterns made by the placement or overlaying of shapes together and the way the individual pieces fit together to form a picture -much like putting a puzzle together. My paintings depict scenes from my own internal, personal folklore. They are filled with creatures from my imagination, who come together to represent my beliefs and ideology.
Most of my creatures are hybrids. I love the idea of two creatures gently merging or emerging, embodying the duality that is within everything in nature. I also explore the idea of many selves in conversation with one another.
I am also keen to explore the common thread that runs through different cultures and religions. Similar versions of all these myths, stories and ideas are shared by cultures all around the world. My paintings explore this concept while also featuring creatures and symbolism that are part of my personal visual vocabulary.
My vision for my work takes the shape of a patchwork quilt of different world experiences which inform and inspire each other. My art relates to the environment, cultural pluralism and personal travel experiences. I focus on the emotional complexes and relationships between people and animals. I tend to use motifs which are recognizable across cultures as they provide a stable base from which my stories can take root and grow.
Rithika Merchant tells about Comparative Mythology
My most recent series deals with Comparative Mythology where I explore the common thread that runs through different cultures and religions. Similar versions of all these myths, stories and ideas are shared by cultures all around the world. The paintings feature creatures and symbolism that are part of my personal visual vocabulary and tie in with my own background and heritage. I am currently continuing in the same vein but focusing now on a branch of Comparative Mythology that deals with Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Hero/Monomyth.
My work deals with taking traditional folklore and mythology and reinterpreting it with a more contemporary perspective.