Renluka Maharaj: Home, is a Place Called Home

RULE Gallery

September 20 - November 2, 2019

  • Opening reception: Friday September 20 from 6-9pm
RM TanteGulab
Renluka Maharaj, Tante Gulab With Her Sons, 2019
acrylic paint, beads, gemstone embellishments, and adhesive on pigmented ink print
22 x 32 inches

Rule Gallery
530 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204


Home, is a Place Called Home is an intimate unearthing of the diaspora of East Indian family life reflecting on the struggle to maintain cultural identity outside of one’s ancestral homelands. In this new body of work, Maharaj—of Indian ancestry but born and raised in post-colonial, multicultural Trinidad and Tobago—employs rigorous hand-embellishment techniques over vintage ancestral photographs to breathe life into the personalities of her distant relatives and brilliantly revive the color and vitality of Indian culture in the Caribbean. The artist pays homage to traditional Indian dress, patterns, beading and rituals using vibrant colors of layered acrylic paint and beads to activate important relations within the photograph while leaving other spaces masked or untouched.


Meticulously researched, Maharaj’s works are filled with cultural details that reveal the diversity and influence of Hindu and African folklore that took root in defiance of British, French, Dutch and Spanish hegemony in the West Indies. The Ties That Bind gives a glimpse of vadhu pravesh, a Hindu marital ceremony, where the bride enters the groom’s house for the first time as wife; and in 6-1-1943, through her rendering of a married couple posing for an official studio portrait with a heavy-handed Western influence, Maharaj reclaims their histories and cultural brilliance. Maharaj’s distinct and vivid depiction of her subjects only further supports the idea of home as an internal aspect of identity where geographic location does not limit the expression. Throughout the exhibition the family ties are not made explicitly clear, but the viewer is invited to piece the works together to uncover a deeper personal and cultural history.


Renluka Maharaj (b. Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies) lives and works between Colorado, New York City and Trinidad. Maharaj completed her BFA at the University of Colorado Boulder and her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received the Barbara De Genevieve Scholarship. Her works are in institutional collections including The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Joan Flasch artist book collection, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and special collections at the University of Colorado Boulder as well as numerous private collections. Her work has been recognized with awards including Fellowships from: Vermont Studio Center; Fountainhead Residency, Miami; and Virginia Center For Creative Arts. She has also recently been accepted into the highly competitive year-long residency at Project For Empty Spaces in Newark, New Jersey which will culminate in a solo show.