Acrylic on Canvas, April 2020

18.4″(W) x 24″(H)

Travel Series: Blue Rain Cambodia

Society’s tenderness towards dealing with its problems is defined by the way they treat their women. Status of south Asian women in society was always high. Through various documentaries, it was observed that most of the shops were managed by women. Managing businesses need communication skills, learning math and so many things. That means they were always educated in basic skills. Even today if you visit Angkor you will observe about 90% of shops around any historical site are set up by women sellers. They sell paintings, souvenirs or good food in their restaurants and earn good money.

Apsara: another set of women distinct from common working women were the women who were beautiful dancers, singers in the court of god. May be not just dancers seducing men, they were also mainly considered divine spirits of water and clouds in Hindu and Buddhist culture, loyal to the king or the god. Carvings at Angkor have two types- those who are dancing were main Apsaras and those who are just standing facing front were called Devatas, mystically divine and knowledgeable women. Apsaras are also called as Bidadari in Malay and Indonesian languages. Word comes from Sanskrit word Vidhyadharis meaning knowledge bearer or bringer. These women are fascinating. There are many interesting stories about them however their origin is unknown. Similarly, in this painting, I have kept a part of her in dark because no matter how much we know about her, some part would always remain mysterious. They are always connected to water so these slanted rain drops in the painting are trying to reach a part of them through top, despite the architecture.  Often in stories these women spirits were life giver as the rain and thus civilization of Angkor also flourished because of them.

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