Oil on Canvas

Courtesy of the artist

The Chakravyuh is a labyrinthian military formation described in the Mah ābh ārata. On the 13th day of the battle between the Kaurava and Pandava, Abhimanyu, the son of Arjun, enters the Chakravyuh and is consequently trapped within it. Attacked by multiple Kauravas, he dies in an unfair battle.

Inspired by television adaptations of the Mah ābh ārata and the rich religious iconographies of the Kathmandu Valley, Shahi illustrates the Chakravyuh as a circular maze to metaphorically represent how individual expressions are trapped by forces beyond one’s control in contemporary society. Like Abhimanyu, most humans continue to struggle day to day, wounded and exhausted by insurmountable inequities.

Labyrinths and mazes have been represented in many cultural contexts around the world, appearing on various objects or as landscape and garden designs. While the signi fcance of such structures di fers, they tend to always refer to quests and journeys into worlds larger than the space of the garden itself

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