Anjolie Ela Menon: Nostalgia 2022: D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi

22 December 2022 - 31 January 2023

Menon’s exhibition Nostalgia is centered around a triptych celebrating the Divine Mothers – Parvati, Mariam and Yashoda. The artist is intrigued by the aesthetics of mythology and creates a unique visual language in her portrayal of these protagonists, as she drapes the goddesses with free-flowing hair and contemporary garments, making a departure from conventional iconography. She captures the nuances and magic of motherhood in her complex rendering of intimacy and transcendence, showing Yashoda with Krishna, Mariam holding infant Jesus, and Parvati with Ganesh – exploring the powerful and personal storytelling quality of myth. The tryptic is enclosed in a huge, beautifully carved jharoka that she salvaged from a junkyard, adding layers of significance to her juxtapositions and intensifying the drama of her presentation. Menon is famous for the translucent textures she creates by using thin glazes of pigment on Masonite, though she has also experimented with other media such as glass, acrylic, computers, ceramics and painted junk. Her visual language has consistently evolved over the years, resisting compartmentalization through instinctive responses to the mélanges of expression, often the dynamic relationship between the erotic and the melancholy. Her early influences include van Gogh, the Expressionists, Modigliani, Amrita Sher-gil and M.F. Husain. Underneath the overlaying of an unmistakable patina, her invisible brushstrokes also reveal an influence of early Christian paintings and Byzantine art. She explores an expressionistic cast of symbolic and representative characters, from spiritual figures like priests and mothers, to complicated familial relationships – embedding them narratives that are influenced by the power of myth.


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