Mequitta Ahuja’s four large oil paintings satisfy the cravings of art-history enthusiasts, not only in their references to early Renaissance Italian paintings, impressionism, and post-impressionism, but in the way they interpret those Western traditions and reclaim creative authorship.
Perhaps more powerful than her stylistic references is Ahuja's use of the personified allegory. In the spirit of this Western tradition—aptly exemplified by Vermeer's iconic 'Allegory of Art,' which is referenced by the opened curtain in Ahuja's 'Performing Painting: Author'—Ahuja uses herself as a symbol of creative authorship, paired with images from Eastern traditions. The subject of 'Performing Painting: Seated Scribe' directly references the famous ancient Egyptian sculpture of the Seated Scribe, as Ahuja presents herself, the artist, as a sort of documentarian. In 'Author' the artist is joined by a floating Hindu goddess as she raises her brush to a blank scroll—the moment before the creation of historical artifact. 'Interpreter,' a dramatically dark painting in which the crouching figure, surrounded by obscure, floating symbols, holds a mirror to herself as she faces the viewer, might be seen as an allegory for the artist as an interpreter of the histories and traditions from which she draws to create her work.