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Kripa RadhakrishnanPh.D. student Ohio UniversitySchool of Interdisciplinary Arts
Kripa Radhakrishnan is an interdisciplinary artist born in Mumbai.
Kripa is currently doing her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University, Ohio, USA. She completed M.F.A in Studio Arts (2019) from CUNY, The City College of New York, NY, USA and received Achievement Medal of the Art Alumni: The Eggers Award, and Connor Award (1st place) for her excellence in academics. Kripa was also the recipient of the Mahendra M Nanavati Gold Medal for 1st place in B.V.A (2016) at S.N.D.T Women’s University, Mumbai, India. She has also received several National, Zonal, and State level accolades for Indian Classical Dance (Mohiniyattam & Bharatanatyam), Music and Visual Arts from the Association of Indian Universities (Youth Affairs Ministry of India). This apart, she has received international awards and scholarships.
Kripa Radhakrishnan is an Indian classic dancer (Bharathanatyam & Mohiniyattam), an Indian classical singer and visual artist. From an early age, she was interested in exploring more about the social problems that prevailed in our society, which further inspired her to perform solo exhibits on the same subject. Her artwork focuses on spirituality and social issues in general. As a woman from a non-conservative upbringing her exhibitions in India and New York, she has always spoken out for the oppressed. Apart from the above, she is also interested in exploring Indian arts and culture. A trained Indian classical dancer and a visual art practitioner, she establishes a dialog between the two through her works of art. ‘The Unheard Voice’ from the STRUGGLE series, which was exhibited in Manhattan, New York City, in conjunction with 3D sculpture, sound art, and performance art, showcased the plight of a woman through a personal story, and Malayalam (South Indian Language) proverbs. Her interest in pursuing spirituality led her to develop the series ‘ASHTANAYIKA.’ The ‘ASHTANAYIKA’ series describes the celebration of two individuals as one soul, performance and visual arts, traditional and non-traditional art styles, and Kripa’s dialog with its author Bharatamuni.
Art is a medium that spiritually connects the separated; it may or may not exist. The process of creation, the artist, and the viewer have various versions of the relations between mind, body, and soul that allow them to attain the meaning of art. As a trained Indian classical dancer, singer, and visual artist, my interest in researching spirituality beyond creative disciplinary practice and the possibility of exploring and developing a dialog between the disciplines has inspired me to create the ‘ASHTANAYIKA’ series.
‘ASHTANAYIKA’ discusses eight forms of nayikas or heroines classified by Bharatamuni in his treatise on performing arts, Natyashastra.1.Vasakasajjika Nayika– One dressed up for union, 2. Virahotkanthita Nayika– One distressed by separation, 3. Svadhinabhartruka Nayika– One having her husband in subjection, 4. Kalahantarita Nayika– One separated by quarrel, 5. Khandita Nayika– One enraged with her lover, 6. Vipralabdha Nayika– One deceived by her lover, 7. Proshitabhartruka Nayika– One with a sojourning husband, 8. Abhisarika Nayika– One going to meet her lover. The eight nayikas represent eight distinct states (avastha) concerning their hero or nayaka. According to their various fictional situations, the classification given to these nayikas (heroines) is the representation of different feelings and reactions. Many of the religious and mythological representations of Ashtanayika are present in literature and the arts. Through this series, I am interested in showing the celebration of love and companionship, which is not only bodily but also divine and precious.
The aesthetic appearance, vibrant and angular brush strokes, and spontaneous movements in this series are influenced by one of the Indian classical dance styles, Bharatanatyam. The art process itself is performative; I create an imaginary sequence of events during the art process and perform every fictional character before and during the art process. The figures are sculptural, frozen at a single moment for the viewer to perceive the potential circumstances of the past, the present, and the future that generate an emotion. Unlike the ancient dance performances conducted in temples, royal kingdoms, or the current tradition of confinement to auditoriums, I am keen to investigate the possibility of developing a dance narrative in a contemporary art space, including outdoor and indoor space. As a trained Indian classical dancer, I have incorporated several hand gestures, postures, and body movements that narrate situations more performatively. My paintings amalgamate figuration and abstraction, expanding narrative through non-traditionalism, figurative expressionism, and abstract expressionism.
Throughout the Ashtanayika series, the idea of rasas (emotions) is highlighted by colors. In human beings, the navarasas (nine rasas) mentioned by Bharata Muni emerge as a reaction to the circumstances they face. In Natyashastra, all these nine emotions are associated to colors that signify emotions or rasas. The nine colors that signifies each emotion are green (sringara), white (hasya), grey(karuna), red (roudra), orange (veera), black (bhayanaka), blue (bheebhatsya), yellow (adbutha) and white (shanta). During the process, I adapted some of the above- mentioned color theory into my paintings and my color interpretations into fictional scenarios, based on time, place and mood.
A time travel by a contemporary living artist through ancient history, connecting with Bharatamuni’s text and embracing the traditional and discovering the experimental highlights the ‘ASHTANAYIKA’ series.