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Artist of The Day | Benitha Perciyal

Benitha Perciyal Me a Woman, My Thoughts a Thousand

(Naan Oru Penn Yen Yennam Aayiram) Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cloves, lemongrass and cedar wood, essential oils, gourds, sunflower seeds collected and found objects


Born in Chennai in 1978, Benitha Perciyal received both BFA and MFA degrees from the Government College of Arts & Crafts there, where she continues to be based. She began to exhibit her work in 1997 and in the past twenty years has developed a distinctive approach to sculpture. Primarily figurative, Perciyal’s art locates its foundations in her strong Christian faith, in both its iconography and its materials. Her preferred medium is the herbs and oils that are made into incense: myrrh, cinnamon, cloves, Frankincense, lemongrass, bark powder, and cedar. She casts found and modeled forms solely in these organic compounds, requiring months or years of curing, slowing down the process of making and refusing any synthetic materials. Her figures are rarely whole and often fragmented, communicating both suffering and transcendence. The pedestals on which they are presented are fabricated from seasoned and scarred wood, adding to a sense of timeless antiquity, very much at odds with the contemporary world.

Benitha Perciyal’s works have been included in numerous group exhibitions in the past two decades at galleries such as Espace and Latitude 28 in New Delhi, OED in Kochi, and The Noble Sage in London. Most notably, she was featured in the second Kochi-Muziris Biennial entitled “Whorled Expectations” and curated by Jitish Kallat in 2014.

Artist lives and works in Chennai

Courtesy of, Benitha Perciyal


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