Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Benitha Perciyal in her Studio, Chennai
Benitha Perciyal in her Studio, Chennai


Benitha Perciyal's practice emerges from her sustained engagement with materials, and their unique cultural lives. Her installations build on the qualities of the materials and objects she works with, which include but are not limited to, re-used Burma Teak, resins and fibres, spices, seeds, frankincense, Figwood, powders of coal and bark, and even Kolu dolls – bazaar-bought figurines displayed during the Autumn festive season in South India.   

In her exhibition "Aggregate" at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, a multiplicity of portable library cupboards, assembled from re-used Burma teak, are arranged with row upon row of 'books' sculpted from discarded bits of beam, their paint chipping, their titles laser-engraved onto their spines. To quote Delhi-based art critic Rosalyn D'Mello, "Perciyal is perhaps one of the most mindful artists we can boast of, whose works are always a case of careful consideration with exacting, laborious proportions and deliberations that make them flawless yet wholly vulnerable in their exposed tactility." Throughout, the exhibition proposes the essence of the Aggregate. This extends to the building up of surface, layer by layer, of the interiors of her wall-mounted sculptures. The four wide mouthed containers in the exhibition, each cast as paper mache of a different fibre, are meticulously clad with the translucent seeds of the Spathodea Campanulata.   

Benitha has been particularly interested in exploring the vernacular in Christian faith in India, through architectural forms and traditional arts. The figures she casts, free of armature, and made of a fragrant dough of materials of ritual practice, are sometimes incorporated into the space, as are the Kolu dolls, which she re-casts in resin. Succinctly put by Chennai-based writer Sadanand Menon: "Benitha is among the few contemporary artists who exults in celebrating the sensuality of memory, erasure, trace. To mark the passage of time as an incremental aggregation is a crucial concern for her."

Born 1978 in Vellore, Tamil Nadu 
BFA, Painting and Printmaking, Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai 
MFA, Painting and Printmaking, Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai 
Lives and works in Chennai 


2019      'Aggregate', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 
2017      'There is no forgetting from the lips of the people', Nature Morte, New Delhi 
2015      'Still and Still Moving Life', Artry Gallery, Kochi 
2014      'How come you are here?', Bergamo Mall, Art Chennai 
2013      'Rebirth', The Noble Sage Gallery, London 
2012      'Ode to a Fierce Fecundity', organised by Art Chennai at Chandra Mandala, Chennai 
2004      'Perturb me not', Alliance Francaise, Chennai 
2003      'Museum', Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai 


2019      'Contemplating the Spiritual in Contemporary Art', Rosenfeld Porcini, London 
2019      India Art Fair, New Delhi, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
2017      'Memoires des futurs: Modernities indiennes', Centre Pompidou, Paris 
2017      The Sculpture Park – Edition 1, Madhavendra Palace, Jaipur 
2017      Frieze Art Fair (Gallery Nature Morte), New York 
2016      Yinchuan Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China 
2016      'Diary Entries?', Gallery Espace, New Delhi 
2014      'Whorled Explorations', Kochi-Muziris Biennale, curated by Jitish Kallat, Kochi 
2013      'Wonderland', organised by Gallery Veda at Park Hyatt, Chennai 
2012      India Art Fair (Gallery OED and Latitude 28), New Delhi 
2012      'Re-picturing the Feminine', Gallery OED, Kochi 
2012      'Firm Ground Beneath Her', Gallery Veda, Chennai 
2012      'Tactile', Latitude 28, New Delhi 
2012      'Emerging Idioms', Apparao Galleries, New Delhi 
2012      'Eco Strokes', Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi 
2012      'Art for Humanity', organised by citizens for justice and peace, Coomaraswamy Hall, Mumbai 
2012      'To Let the World In: Narrative and Beyond in Contemporary Indian Art', curated by Chaitanya Sambrani, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, organised by Art Chennai 
2011      'Emerging Idioms', Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi 
2011      'Serendipity', Galleri Vreta Kloster, Sweden
2011      'Turn of the Tide', organised by Tangerine Art Space at The Taj, Bangalore 
2011      'Madras Contemporary for Art Chennai', curated by Ashvin Rajagopal, Ashvita Gallery, Chennai 
2010      'Artist of the Month', invited by Cholamandal Artist Village, Indigo-Lambudrum Gallery, Chennai 
2010      'The Madras Accent', organised by Safion at Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore 
2010      '16 Contemporary Women', Gowry Art Institute, Kallar & Vyloppilly Samskrithi, Trivandrum 
2010      'Functional Art', Forum Art Gallery, Chennai 
2010      'Search Within', Gallerie 88, Kolkata 
2010      'Expression of Inner Space', Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi, Thrissur 
2009      'Gender Genesis Genetics', Gallery Espace, New Delhi 
2009      'Marco Polo Diaries', The Taj, Chennai 
2009      India Art Summit (Apparao Galleries), New Delhi 
2009      'Narrative Movements', Gallery Mementos, Bangalore, and Gallery with Difference, Kolkata 
2009      'Perspecta', Indigo Gallery, Cholamandal, Chennai 
2008      'Paper Pathways', Apparao Galleries, Chennai 
2008      'Between the Lines', Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai 
2008      'Trilogy 2', The Noble Sage Art Gallery, London 
2008      'Harmony Arts Contemporary Show India', Mumbai 
2008      'Surface to Origin', Gallery Soul Flower, Bangkok 
2007      'Synergy: Shakti', Auroville, Pondicherry 
2007      'The South', Apparao Galleries, New Delhi 
2007      'The Whirlpool of Fate', Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Center, New Delhi 
2007      'Working Indian Artists from Lalit Kala Akademi', Graphicus Atelier, Cumberland, USA 


2018       Arts Game Changer Award, India 
2016       Amol Vadehra Art Award 
2005       National winner, Camlin Euro Art Tour to London and Paris 
2004       The Camlin 6th Southern Region Art Award 
2004       Lalit Kala Akademi Research Grant 2003-04 
2003       Scholarship to a Young Artist, Department of Culture, Government of India, 2003-05 
2002-03  Arnawaz Vasudev Charities Scholarship




August 09, 2019 - October 15, 2019


Books, Seeds and the Journey Called Life

by Lajja Shah, Art India Magazine 

Once upon a teak door

by Akila Kannadasan , The Hindu