Panchali

36″x48″
Acrylic On Canvas
Signature – Bottom left

I, Panchali, the beautiful daughter of King Draupad,
The fiery queen to five men,
Lay here, on being smashed ruthlessly to the floor,
Wondering,
Who gave these merciless men the right,
To drag me to court, by my hair, when I was clad in single attire?
How could my most wise husbands, fall in their trap?
I ask you Mother Nature!
How could they objectify me to use me for gambling?
Was I, just a key to bring humiliation to my men?
Do men just use women as a tool, to belittle each other?
Answer me Oh Mother! Answer me.

This painting expresses the artist’s perspective on the incident of disrobing of Draupadi in the great Indian epic, Mahabharat.  Each man in the painting has a mark inscribed on the nape of neck,  which denotes the quality he is known for, like archery, power of  elephants, handsomeness, intellect, and unmatchable wisdom. Lack of  clothing on their bodies, hints at the losing of all their wealth in  Chausar (the game of dice). The two pitfalls on the left depict the two  traps that the Kauravas made Pandavas to fall in.

The body language and clothes of Draupadi show three different  situations of her life. Her seating posture, resting a hand on a pillow,  shows her prosperity as a queen to five intelligent and talented men.  Being clad in one attire signifies how she was dragged to court for  disrobing. Faint clothing, flowing upwards, shows the act of Krishna,  the God, lengthening her garment endlessly. Her expressions and the key  indicate her contemplation of being used as a tool by Kauravas to  insult her men.

The paintings of contemporary visual artist, Praveen Naik, are abstract in depiction and touch upon the burning  issues of society like gender inequality, domestic violence, and mythological  events. He brings the issue straight to the table and is brutally  honest in his artwork. Striving hard to break free from conservatism and  social and cultural constraints, he says that his visual language is  nothing but his reactions to those events.

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