Rani Rekha, is an artist who draws on her legacy as a descendant of the court painters of the Vijayanagara and Mysore kingdoms - the 13th generation of artists in the family. Despite this legacy she decided to formally study art as well. Intimately familiar with the Tanjore and Mysore schools of paintings, she completed her Masters in Painting at the Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore. This exposure underscores her practice, allowing her to combine diverse media, subject matter and visual forms at will.
Although steering clear of imitating the traditional Mysore style her works nevertheless carry some of this legacy - expressed as a strong linear quality and a proclivity for symbolism. Striving to speak a language that is definitively Indian and contemporary, Rani's artistic practice spans various media, including painting, sculpture, installations, video and performance art, drawing on Indian mythology and subject matter from her own experiences..
Here, in The Palakas, Rani works the figures of the ashtadikpalas and their vahanas on paper, in dry pastel and watercolour. In an oblique reference to tradition, Rani incorporates the use of gesso to create raised surfaces, that are then covered with 22 karat gold foil.
"This is a public art program, and so, I didn't want the work to be seen just as a surface", says Rani, thus adding interactive and video elements to the work."I wanted to move away from the literal, to create something that was more abstract and to which people would connect to intuitively."