R ithika Merchant is a visual artist from Bombay (Mumbai), India. Her work explores the common thread that runs through different cultures and religions. Similar myths, stories and ideas are shared by cultures all around the world, her paintings explore this concept while also featuring creatures and symbolism that are part of her personal visual vocabulary.
Nature plays a pivotal role in her work and is emphasised by the use of organic shapes and non saturated colours. Her paintings and collages are made using a combination of watercolour and cut paper elements, drawing on 17th century botanical prints and folk art, to create a body of work that is visually linked to our collective pasts.
Merchant received a BFA in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, New York. Her solo shows include Birth of a New World at TARQ, Mumbai (2021); Mirror of the Mind at Galerie LJ, Paris (2019); Where the Water Takes us at TARQ, Mumbai (2017); Ancestral Home at Galeria Bien Cuadrado, Barcelona (2017); Intersections at Galeria Combustion Espontanea, Madrid (2016); and Luna Tabulatorum at Stephen Romano Gallery, New York (2015).
Her recent group exhibitions include a two person show In Orbit at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin,(2021), Osmosis at TARQ, Mumbai (2019), Spring! A Group Show of Contemporary Drawing at Galerie LJ, Paris (2019); Homo Faber at The Michaelangelo Foundation, Venice ( 2018) ; Portal at October Gallery, London (2018); Sensorium / The End Is Only The Beginning at Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, Goa (2018); This Burning Land Belongs To You at the Swiss Cottage Gallery, London (presented by TARQ for Camden Kala, UK/ India Year of Culture 2017); Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at 80WSE Gallery, New York (2016); and Reliquaries: The Remembered Self at TARQ, Mumbai (2015). Her work has also been included in group shows at The New Gallery, Calgary (2017); Summerhall, Edinburgh (2015); and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York (2015).
Merchant collaborated with Chloé, a French fashion house on multiple collections for which she was awarded the Vogue India Young Achiever of the Year Award at its Women of the Year Awards 2018, as well as named one of Vogue Magazine’s VogueWorld 100 Creative Voices. She is also the winner of the Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2021 – Vogue Hong Kong Women’s Art Prize for her painting “Saudade” and Le Prix DDessin Paris ’21.
Her work has been written about in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Vogue, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Verve Magazine, The Hindu, The Indian Express, Hyperallergic, Architectural Digest, and others. Merchants work is held in public and private collections including the Chloe Archive, Palais Galliera, Musée de la mode de la Ville de Paris and The Sarmaya Arts Foundation.
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Charuka Arora, Founder of Arts To Hearts Project
Arts To Hearts Project