RSS / Nāsadiya Sūkta

Ingrained Truth

When colours evolve a presence without seeming to, when images that are abstract draw you into their truth and evoke a sense of wonder and calm, you know you are in the presence of an artist. Art is underrated in its importance as a harbinger of change. Revati Sharma Singh challenges the established platitudes of cosmetic, decorative art, without seeming to do so. She elevates it to the cosmic. Without reading the explanatory notations that accompany the works it is clear that something is organically unfolding during the experience of absorbing her extraordinary use of colour and technique, her layering of an image with a gently revealed, but bold truth, almost a philosophy that encompasses her unique take on the natural world. An ancient Vedic chant-like philosophy.

Known for her unusual use of individually cast grains of food rice, maize, corn or wheat, whichever inspires her palette, Revati Sharma Singh brings the Indian ethos of abundance juxtaposed with the barren browns of her backdrop. She brings into sharp relief that constant tussle between nature and humanity, the ongoing rigour of natural produce with human mismanagement and greed. Her politics is her palette; she brushes her ethics onto each inlaid gold and silver grain, creating collectibles, which invoke conversations beyond the piece you absorb. These are simply esoteric works stay with you when you leave the room.

Speak of the esoteric simplicity of religious philosophy and the only formal text that comes to mind is the Rgveda. Composed some five centuries ago, these Sanskrit chants ring with communal harmony, communing with nature, highlighting the supremacy of the natural world, of the human place in the wider macrocosm, similar to the belief system we see unfolding in the paintings before us. These verses continually bring attention back to the human condition being dependant nature, not the other way around. These echo Revati Sharma Singh’s work. In particular the Creation Myth, the very name Nasadiya, which translates as ‘being from nothingness became’, clearly underpins the idea that the gods themselves came afterwards. There is a singular thread that runs through these artworks, the coming into being of an original idea, a kernel of thought, defying institutionalisation. Hinduism came later, first there was animism, communing with nature as One. This is plain in the artists’ worldview, her emphasis on cosmic Oneness.