Ratnabali Kant (1956)

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Ratnabali Kant | Biography | Life | Artworks

In the sculptures of Ratnabali Kant, there is an eccentric accentuation of the hideous as a device for intensity in expression. 

The contorted structures of faces and masses of the human body, in her characteristic handling of the media—fibreglass, and terracotta—are compelling and provoke a feeling of thought and emotion. 

She has cleverly assembled her fibreglass forms in a rhythmic relationship in her Facing the Nightmare Alone, depicting a twisted, crumpled female figure (Draupadi) lying on the floor, and her torn garments held by a group of men responsible for crushing her feelings. 

A film on Ratnabali Kant’s career in art

The figures of men are created in relief—a compromise between the flat and the round, and the woman in three dimensions to suit her composition. 

A Woman of Earth and Nipped in the Bud, two of her works of the late 1980s, in terracotta, are metaphorical expressions. 

The first relates to the abduction theme, wherein Sita, bearing a horrified look, is shown standing with the falling wings of Jatayu around her, symbolizing his vain attempt to save her from Ravana. 

The other work relates to Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna who fell fighting against fearful odds. 

He is shown falling on the ground as a dismembered figure, with a group of terrible masks symbolizing fearsome and malicious people, jeering at him. 

Ratnabali creates a unique wall and floor relationship in her powerful assemblages, where she uses flattened relief of figures as a pattern of masks on the wall against the dynamic three-dimensional form of figures juxtaposed on the floor. 

Although she achieves form definition by the accentuation of mass in the figures which are enveloped by the dark color, structure, and rhythm are also highlighted by the directional movement linking the figures. 

The mass and fleshy details seem to emerge from the mysterious dark color, fluctuating in shape with changing light. 

Ratnabali’s symbolic sculptures are examples of spontaneous modeling that result from the explosion of feelings. 

There is an emphasis on gestures. Gesticulating rhetorically, her female figures are emotionally charged to symbolize the injustice and the outrage that woman has been subjected to by men and society since times Immemorial.

Watch Videos About Ratnabali Kant’s Life & Artwork

“The Last Performance” By Ratnabali Kant
This Installation Performance art of Ratnabali Kant was performed on January 1, 2005, in the open lawn of Vitthalbhai Patel House, Rafi marg, New Delhi, completing 20 years of the artist’s exploration of this art form. This presentation was conceived and dedicated to the memory of Safdar Hashmi and many other creative persons who had worked for the people and given joy to the millions, yet suffered heavily for the daring expression of their creative genius.

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