Mythology as muse
Bengal Art Lounge is holding a solo exhibition of paintings, installations and video by Ronni Ahmmed titled “Gods and Beast”. The exhibition addresses many of the great religious and spiritual traditions that have crossed Bengal at one point or the other, in particular Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism. The viewer is plunged into frenzied depictions of religious scenes often rendered with a colour palette reminiscent of the American comic books of mid-20th century. Far from being an obstacle to accessing the superior meaning of these celebrated scenes, Ahmmed's “cosmic comic” aesthetics lays it bare.
His works focus on the connect between spiritual suffering and socio-political upheaval, a condition caused by the lack of spiritual enrichment, he says. In “Tears of the Blazing Brain” he depicts how the good and evil of Gods and beasts affects the real world and influences human salvation. This is a criticism of our capitalist culture and greed.
There is Jesus Christ in the “The Last Supper” with an unusual interpretation. There is also a description of the resurrection of Christ.
In another work, Buddha has attained the state of Nirvana and is seen almost disappearing in a mass of yellow.
In a work influenced by Egyptian mythology, a goddess “Nedia”, is seen swallowing the sun, so that the sun is thrown into the daytime and day time begins.
In “Hydra”, Hercules attacks Hydra with a fleet of UFOs. If you cut one head of the Hydra another grows in its place. There is multi-coloured glitter along with pink, green and yellow. The creature is on marshland and the fleet of UFOs is shown attacking it with laser beams.
The meditating Saraswati has the Hindu goddess of knowledge and arts with three blue swans.
The majority of these are reconstruction of icons. These are windows of spiritual energy, Ronni says.
There is also a depiction of Medusa, a Greek monster who turns everything that she sees into stone. She is deadly as her head sprouts green, red and yellow snakes.