The painting exhibition, Remains of Ayodhya, Places of Worship, by artist Kota Neelima, depicts the freedom and harmony of Ayodhya when it was not overwhelmed by religion. The 23 artworks represent places of worship that are similarly free like the symbols of nature, the trees, the flowers and foliage, the green Earth and the sparkling sky. The works are impressionist as well as abstract and are filled with spiritual meaning and direction.

Ayodhya has been a place of peace and conflict through the history of India. It has been defined through faith, devotion, and politics of electoral democracy, and it has been a site to test values and identities. Whenever Ayodhya was sought to be bound in definitions and contained in structures, it had led to contest and unrest. And whenever it was set free, it has been at peace. Ayodhya has endured change and challenges because the places of worship had to be imagined, and were a tangible spiritual experience. The absence in Ayodhya was not vacant, when it was relocated in the hearts of the believers. And, when it was re-imagined with devotion and love, there was no contest, no unrest.

“Remains of Ayodhya, Places of Worship, is one such thought that had taken many years of conceptualisation to be finally represented. The  artworks in the 2017 series are forms that signify places of worship that are not contained in religious structures and have been returned to nature.”

On the artistic process, Neelima stated, “All creativity begins with thought that seeks to be represented. But how does thought that is, at the same time, absent and present, tangible and intangible, certain and vague, choose one of the infinite representations that must co-exist constantly? The representation might only be one part of the thought that the artist could provide a form for, and it continues its journey to the observer. It is in the mind of the observer that the representation returns to the state of thought, thus, completing the thought-representation-thought circle. Every art work is a journey of thought as it progresses though various forms to reach the observer.’’

Neelima adds, “Remains of Ayodhya, Places of Worship, is one such thought that had taken many years of conceptualisation to be finally represented. The  artworks in the 2017 series are forms that signify places of worship that are not contained in religious structures and have been returned to nature. The formless and the unrepresented in the Ayodhya guided the spiritual journey of the soul through a million manifestations of the immortal thought alive in nature; in light, leaves, flowers of trees and skies of days and night. The paintings seek that universal presence that Ayodhya now symbolizes with its absence of a place of worship.”

The exhibition is on till 16 January at the Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi