rithika merchant / mythography and more

11.11 interviews RITHIKA MERCHANT / photography : BIKRAMJIT BOSE

MM : What we choose to wear can speak a lot about our identity.You have a striking sensitivity for assembling clothes,has dressing up always been important for you?

RM : In the past clothing was an important part of how I expressed myself. These days I still love to dress up but I don't feel like I need to wear my emotions on my sleeve (literally!). I still love mixing prints and colours. I love wearing my giant jewellery. 

MM : Where did the force to investigate global mythologies come from?

 RM :  I've always been interested in myth. Between growing up in India, and then studying and living in different places and eventually setting up my life in Europe, I've been able to explore different cultures. Europe itself is such a mixture of different traditions, it has helped me see parallel histories everywhere. The history of myth and traditions shows links between cultures that often isn't highlighted in classical history. 

 MM : The essence of your work has remained the same but has developed quite a bit since we met in Portugal 5 years back. Would you mind sharing some key triggers or portals for this perceived growth?

RM : Two important things have happened since then. The first is that I got married and moved to Barcelona. Being able to live a more settled life enabled me to find the mental space to actually sit down a create a body of work which then lead to the second thing - which was getting the chance to exhibit that work. In the last four years I have had two successful solo shows which have given me a further stability and have allowed me to keep exploring and creating without restriction. 

MM. How does it feel to be part of the 3% world population that gets to follow their dreams?

RM : I feel very very grateful and thankful. And I never take it for granted. 

 MM :  Finally what are you eating these days?

RM : The winter makes me crave warming food that sticks to my bones - lentil loaves, avocados on toast, mushroom soup, and as always - large quantities of chai. 


Rithika Merchant deals with creating mosaics of myths that question received histories that are available to us throughout culture. An inherent feminism exists in her decoration undermining the minimalism of modernity that views a woman just as a muse. 

In 2008 she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design in New York. She has studied painting and conceptual practice at the Hellenic International Studies In The Arts in Paros, Greece. In 2008 she was a resident at the Convento Sao Francisco Mertola in Mertola, Portugal. 

Her recent projects include an international residency where she researched the folk culture of the native German speaking Swabians in Garana a village in a Banaat region of Romania as a part of Arthouse Wolfberg/Garana where she was commissioned for a triptych for the regional art museum. She was a participant at the Swab Art Far in Barcelona. In 2011 she had a solo showing at Gallery Art and Soul, Bombay, followed by a second solo showing "Mythography" in 2013.  

Born in Bombay in 1986 she now lives in Barcelona.