Rhett D’Costa was born in India but emigrated to Australia as a child. His experiences as an Asian Australian have informed his practice, from the use of colour to complex expressions of identity and belonging. Secret Interiors explores the experience of architectural space and colour, drawing on D’Costa’s experiences of Mughul painting and architecture*. This exhibition is in many respects a translation. It is less about the forms or direct colours in the architecture and paintings, and more about the gesture and atmosphere these spaces created, filtered through his personal encounters. It takes into account the richness of palace and court life, the social divisions within gender and across power structures, and the varied interests in and engagement with poetry, geometry, cosmology and culture. The idea for Secret Interiors grew out of an encounter with Indian miniature paintings nearly 30 years ago. It was the first time D’Costa had returned to India, 15 years after his family migrated to Australia, and the first time he saw Indian miniature paintings in person. He was particularly struck by the colour combinations in those paintings; so different from his experience of using colour during his recent art school years in Australia. He excitedly wrote lists of colour combinations in a travel diary. Fast forward to to 2018 and D’Costa finds this decades old diary with his notes about colour. It sent him back to re-looking at Mughul paintings and the numerous Mughul architecture forts and palaces in India which he has visited since that first return journey. Secret Interiors attempts to reactivate these experiences across time and space. A further layering takes place in accounting for the present experience of Hong Kong, where D’Costa has been a regular visitor since 2008, and the internal architecture of this site
* Mughal art and architecture is a characteristic Indo-Islamic-Persian style that flourished on the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal empire (1526–1857)
Text courtesy of Kay Beadman from Hidden Space - Hong Kong.