MALANI, Nalini, From ‘Stories retold’ series
Citing the canonical Hindu morality stories of the Bhagavata Purana, these five paintings are related to Nalini Malani’s fascination with the place of mythology in contemporary art and life. The Bhagavata Purana belongs to the corpus of Sanskrit legends written in verse, the earliest dating back to 300 AD and the most recent ones to 1300–1400 AD. Malani’s paintings refer directly to five of these and focus on the female figures offering important moral insights and who today are often overlooked or forgotten. They include Rhada, Krishna’s lover; Putana, the wet-nurse sent to poison him in infant form; Yasodhara, the mother of Krishna’s boar-faced incarnation, Varaha, who was forced to give up her daughter to ensure the deity’s survival; Sita, the daughter of Earth and wife of Vishnu; and Mohini, Vishnu’s only female incarnation. Using the open-ended interpretative framework of the Bhagavata Purana, Malani aligns these stories with the realities of her own time.
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