Rithika Merchant

Rithika Merchant (b.1986) deals with creating mosaics of myths that question received histories that are available to us throughout culture. Her works are an exploration of epics and myths across geographies. The tropes of myths and storytelling come together with her distinctive illustrative style to create alternative narrarives that serves as possible alternatives of a coming-together in a conflict riddled world. 

Rithika received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York (2008). She has exhibited extensively since her graduation including a number of solo exhibitions in India, Spain, Germany and the United States. Her recent group exhibitions include a two-person show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai (2015); “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York (2016); “G/rove” at Latitude 28, New Delhi (2017); “This Burning Land Belongs To You at The Swiss Cottage Gallery”, London, U.K. (Presented by TARQ for Camden Kala, UK/India Year of Culture 2017).  Her work has also been included at group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh, The New Gallery, Calgary as well as multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York (2015). 

Born in Mumbai, Rithika now divides her time between  Barcelona and Mumbai.


RELIQUARIES: The Remembered Self

13 Mar 2015 - 10 Apr 2015

An exhibition of recent works by Suruchi Choksi and Rithika Merchant, “RELIQUARIES” takes a closer look at how we construct and envision our pasts, both collective and personal. Through their respective processes, both artists are able to uniquely capture two aspects of recollecting that are radically different, yet inextricably linked to each other.

In Suruchi’s photographs, printed on aluminum and paper, as well as in her six-channel video installation, she toys with the idea of photographs being a conductor in the orchestration of our own personal memory. Her distressed and distorted personal photographs tell a story that has evolved over time, both physically and emotionally. She delves into each layer of the image, assuming that no picture, and no story is absolute at any given time, for it is seen through filters that every individual carries in their mind’s eyes.

Rithika’s characters hark back to a sense of belief in ritual, with each intricate watercolor building a mystical narrative from one image to the next. An inherent feminism exists in her decoration, undermining the minimalism of modernity that views a woman just as a muse. Her use of cut out, almost puzzle-like pieces effortlessly permits us to piece together a narrative, using some of our own magical thinking.

Exhibition Catalog: RELIQUARIES: The Remembered Self by Rithika Merchant and Suruchi Choksi
TARQ Mumbai


Where the water takes us

01 Dec 2017 - 13 Jan 2018

Rithika Merchant’s first solo exhibition at TARQ brings together a body of work that explores issues of migration, displacement and belonging through the idiom of epics and myths. Working primarily with the mediums of gouache and ink on paper, Rithika creates elaborate and poetic mosaics of myths that seek to thread together a plethora of histories across time and space.

Water forms a key motif in this body of work. Talking about her choice of subject, Rithika says –“Living in Barcelona, I have been profoundly affected by the refugee crisis which has spurred mass migrations across the Mediterranean Sea from Syria, Turkey and North Africa. The sea right at my door step is very quickly becoming the sea of the dead.

With this in mind, it is important to remember that water also dilutes. To resolve a conflict between cultures, mixing and allowing two cultures to each be diluted by an influx of the other is key to the survival of both. This clash preserves rather than destroys the original cultures. I explore and examine the role water and migration routes play in this clash of cultures and how this leads to the development of a third, stronger culture.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay written by Skye Arundhati Thomas.