Hailing from Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, Benitha Parcyal is among the few contemporary artists who exults celebrating the sensuality of memory. Her work has been shown at select solo and group exhibitions across the world, including the first edition of the Yinchuan Biennale and the 2014 Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
After completing her BFA from Govt College of Arts and Crafts, she went on to specialise in painting and printmaking, where she explored her affinity towards organic, found material like seeds, shells, crustacean fossils, flotsam, driftwood and detritus – material that may be temporary, non-lasting, fading or merely that which metamorphoses into something else in time.
Benitha almost lusts after these mundane passages of fleeting duration and traps them in the folds of an emotional loop. Surfaces she works on, like papier mache, sarees, curtains, lace, become as important and crucial markers of this processual engagement as her resistance to emphasise any definitive form. In Benitha’s work, it is impossible to separate the sap from the fissure.
She consciously avoids solid objectification and proclaims her need to merge space and form. In a uniquely textured way, the artist pairs the earthly desires and agility of time to display the dramatic beauty of ephemeral elements.
Benitha is currently working on her figurines for the grand show at the ‘The Sculpture Park’ at Mahadevendra Palace in Jaipur. When we ask her to throw some light upon the theme for the exhibition, she says,” this exhibition is a year-long event and artists from all over India are invited to present their handiworks at the Sculpture Park. As soon the organisers gave me the details of the location, I made up my mind to take the Royals as the theme.” She adds, “The life-size sculptures of kings and queens will have their basic frame made from machilus wood, sawdust, charcoal dust, fragrance oils and joss powder, which is first of its kind. I had incorporated materials like Frankincense, Myrrh, Bark Powder, Coal, Cinnamon, Clove Lemon grass and Cedar wood essential oils, Fig, Plaster, mineral, tree resin, lime kiln bricks and Teak wood in my earlier works.” Benitha admits to being heavily dependent on raw materials extracted from nature for her creations and is a staunch believer of the idea that art should age with humans. “I have always used natural extracts from organic elements as they reflect the idea and purpose that goes behind my creations,” muses the artist.
As we stroll from one sculpture to another, Benitha says that her work is mostly inspired from the fierceness of feminine grace and the ever changing face of nature, which was evident from the exhibits lined up at her residence. “Even the sculptures that I planned for the upcoming exhibition are in-line with my base idea of going ‘Au natural’,” says the talented artist.
As she divulges about her work, a burning passion and unending love for the art are obvious in her speech. It is this openness to risk-taking that makes Benitha’s work stand out and magically reveal to us the nurturing tenderness behind her fierce pursuit.
Towards the end of our conversation, when we ask her about the inspiration behind such a distinct work, she calmly smiles and says,” One just needs to become a part of nature to get inspired, the rest happens on its own.”