Born in Bangalore in 1958, Rekha Rodwittiya completed her graduation from The Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda in 1981. She then received the Inlaks scholarship for her M.A. in Painting from Royal College of Art, London in 1984. In 1988-89, she was invited as a guest artist to the Konsthogskolan, Stockholm. She was also invited to deliver a series of lectures on Indian Art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts Grenoble and Castello de Rivoli, Torino in 1991. She did a short stint at the Fullam Institute on Film and Video, and was conferred the Staff Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation Asian Cultural Council to work in the U.S. in 1990.
Rekha Rodwittiya's work describes complex issues of life and living, of alienation and belonging, of discrimination and acceptance, of accord and discord. It is of paramount importance to this sensitive artist to react pragmatically to socio-political attitudes that surround her. Her work reflects her sensitivity towards socio-political attitudes along with reflections from her past. She does not treat art and life in isolation, and deems it necessary to experience life to paint. Her fervent activity of painting is a struggle for her own rightful existence. The artist explains to say, "I go through all the terror and agony of stepping into an 'unknown'." Her images are a by-product of her thoughts and emotions, her readings, observations, beliefs, values and vast compilation of past experiences.
The artist draws on a heritage of elemental imagery, tempered by psychological insights, portraying women through the prism of personal experience and day-to-day realities. As she has noted: "Caught within the intricacies of adult angst where the undercurrent of pain was recognized though not fully understood by me, the drawn or constructed image became very early a means of deciphering all that I accumulated from observing. My sense of empathy with the drawn image was that it offered a physicality, and established a concretizing of the otherwise intangible. It became a method, as I perceive it in retrospect, of creating a dialogue that gave meaning to a psychological realm."
Rodwittiya has always been concerned with the representation of the female figure in her quest to find the vocabulary to represent women without objectifying them, without allowing the viewer to play the role of voyeur. Rodwittiya represents large clothed Gauginesque women as the archetypal figure in their daily work rituals, dwarfing their tools and objects that surround them, in a celebration of the female protagonist.
Rekha Rodwittiya has represented India in several prestigious art shows internationally apart from a series of workshops and lectures on Indian art. She has held solo exhibitions at Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai, Art Heritage, New Delhi, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, Seagull Foundation for Arts, Kolkata, the Gallery 678, New York. She has also participated in the 2nd Biennale, Havana and in "Six Young Contemporaries" in Geneva.
Among her other select exhibitions are 'Contemporary Indian Art from the Herwitz Collection', Grey Art Gallery, New York (1985), VI International Triennale, New Delhi (1986), 'Dialogues of Peace', 50th Anniversary of U.N. Worked on site on a painted room 'Songs from the Blood of the Weary' (1995), 'Evocations', solo exhibition at Ludovica Barberri Gallery, Venice (1998), and a Project in Brazil with Labrotoria, curated by Phillipe Mullion (1998). She was one of the participating artists at a major exhibition of Indian contemporary art in Oslo's Henie-Onstad Art Centre as part of the celebrations of 50 years of Indo-Norwegian bilateral relations.