Raki Nikahetiya

Photographer Raki Nikahetiya through his project In Carnation tells us the story about Dianthus caryophyllus, the carnation flower. Native in the Mediterranean, its true origins remain untraceable after extensive cultivation by humankind over the last two thousand years. In its wild form it mostly appears in a modest size with five flower petals. Cultivated varieties amass up to forty petals and appear in various shapes, sizes and colours. The carnation is a floral success story: it has conquered the globe over millennia, and in the 21st century is still traded and treasured.

The Greek botanist Theophrastus coined its name Dianthus from the words divine (dios) and flower (anthos). Carnations are linked to multiple human belief systems – a single blossom, depending its colour, may embody a wide spectrum of expressions – birth, gratitude, failure, fortune, sexuality, mourning and everything in between. It has been, and remains, all things to all people.

In monochromatic negatives the colour of the blossom vanishes. All symbolism breaks down. The carnation deconstructs into an abstract landscape, against which we can pin new meanings, visions, images or interpretations. Or nothing at all.

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