Madhvi Parekh is recognized by scholars as one of the most significant living Indian artists, who has established her own oeuvre and language in contrast to the artistic conventions of her time. Inspired by artists such as Paul Klee and Joan Miró, Parekh began painting in 1964.
With no formal education in art, Madhvi Parekh's work initially evolved from childhood memories, popular folk stories, legends of her village, and the forms of painting that were part of her family’s everyday rituals, such as the traditional floor designs of rangoli. Her paintings are unplanned, unfolding like a story where she adapts each work to the scale it demands and developing from a single point into vast narratives. Apart from folk motifs, legends, and figures, Parekh also uses imaginary characters in figurative and abstracted orientations in her compositions, demonstrating her use of rhythm and repetition. In most of her works, she utilizes the familiar settings and motifs of Kalamkari, a traditional hand- painted or block-printed cotton textile, and Pichwai, devotional pictures on cloth or paper, in which she enshrines the main character of the composition in the center and fills the minor or secondary ones in the borders. Spanning five decades, The Curious Seeker offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore Parekh’s evolution as an artist, from her roots in folk tradition, to the myriad ways that she diverged from conventions to create her own distinctive style. The exhibition features iconic works by the artist that together represent every phase of her illustrious career, including rare drawings and paintings from the 1960s, influenced by the abstraction of Paul Klee, and significant examples of works that feature recurring themes and subjects across her practice, including the countryside of India, religious imagery, and anthropomorphic forms.