Mythology depicted through turtles

It was in 2008, when Sangeeta Kumar Murthy chanced upon a pair of little crystal turtles and was fascinated by them. Seven years since then, and the creatures, which according to the artist emit positive energy, have been the matrix of her work.

“The fascination was majorly because of the positive energy that turtles bring, such as longevity, strength, prosperity and success,” Murthy, whose works were recently displayed in the capital, says.

True so, as Murthy’s solo exhibition titled ‘Joy of Life’ reflected her enchantment with turtles –found in abundance on her canvases. However, her works, done in eye-catching colours, also had an element of mythology in them.

Sharing details, she tells Metrolife, “In mythology, legend and folklore the tortoise enjoys great potency, symbolising wisdom, longevity and fertility, good luck, order, creation, endurance, strength and stability –one who bears the burden of the world on its back and supports the heavens. In Hindu mythology, Karma, Sanskrit for tortoise, is one of the 10 avatars or incarnations of Vishnu. My works draw inspiration from these.”

Adding that the series took three years to complete, Murthy says that while she started painting turtles in 2008, it was in 2011-2012 when they actually became the integral elements of her works, “before that my works were figurative and architectural’.

“By playing with the turtle’s form, I am trying to reinterpret some of the well-known myths related to it, presenting my own versions of the turtle as a protector and conservator of nature, or a receptacle for the earth. So the turtle is a protagonist, saviour, bearer of dreams or indeed the dream itself, on its way to creating new pages of lore and history,” she says.

The Gurgaon-based artist says that over the years she has also collected several art pieces of turtles from across the globe.

“Since I started reading up on turtles, I learnt that one of the largest nesting places in India is Paradeep Beach, a confluence of the river Mahanadi and Bay of Bengal. I’m also trying to compile pictures and videos that I have shot over the years and make a documentary. All these instances have motivated me to work towards the ‘Joy of Life’ series and gain knowledge about them,” she says.

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