Painted in blue, her eyes are wide open and lips are smeared with red lipstick — Ravinder Reddy’s Portrait of a Migrant is not desolate or despondent but she does carry the burden of her past and is anxious about her future. Standing 112.5 inches tall, with a sack weighing on her head, she gazes at the viewers, just as 13 other sculptural women heads designed by Reddy. “She represents how migration is taking place in India so rapidly, from villages to cities and also within the cities,” says Reddy.
Curated by Anupa Mehta, the exhibition titled ‘Rasa’ at Emami Art — a contemporary art gallery at Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC) — brings together three decades of the Visakhapatnam-based artist’s work, from 1989 to 2019. “I have been wanting to show a huge body of work in Kolkata. Though I have been handling the same subject, how I go about it has changed. From a more primitive expression in the earliest works, I now see more refinement in the proportion, features or even the ornamentation,” says 63-year-old Reddy. According to Mehta, “Ravinder Reddy marries tradition with the contemporary to create works that are at once iconic as they are rooted in the vernacular.”