Radishka Navaratnam

Taste of salt, 2023

121 × 121 cm

This painting is a narrative of emotion during a time of grief, which can often overwhelm us and question our own vulnerability.

I wanted to create a painting with the idealised beauty of nostalgic youthful life through the girl.  However, the choppy ocean narrates the uncertainty of life even while the subject treads water.

The body broken by the refracted light represents the fragmentation of life within these dark times, where our own existence in this earthly life (the body) is questioned at such times of grief.

The girls open mouth taking in her own breath, her hands covering her eyes from the glare of the sun hitting her face as she surfaces from the dark water, and the sting of salt from the ocean represents the inescapable vulnerability of life as we surface from dark moments. The salt sting and sun’s glare awakens us to the possible future, which might not be so bleak.

The taste of salt represents the core of the human body; and in tasting and feeling its sting with the sun’s glare, the subject is experiencing life itself, as she emerges from the water.

I am a contemporary multidisciplinary figurative artist who works predominantly with oils.

Water, form and light have been the primary elements used to create the narrative of escapism, spiritual and physical renewal, letting go or nostalgic memories. The balance between fear and freedom plays a large part in my work.

My aim is to capture the fluidity of form within a snapshot of time. I work on achieving richly saturated hues and evocative forms to create celestial images bathed in refracted light.

My ideal life, is to paint with no pause button and I try to stay true to this ethos having painted throughout my travels that have inspired these moments.

Although primarily self-taught, I have descended from a family of creatives within the arts and film.

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