I am a Bangalore-based illustrator with a background in visual design. After my undergraduate studies at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, I started working with a branding and illustration studio in New Delhi and Cape Town. The two years I spent there helped me realise the power of art to communicate beyond the barriers of language, culture and geography. I left to pursue a residency in illustration at the School of Visual Arts, New York and there on forth, set out to build my career as an independent artist. Through it all my art has been driven by the desire to understand our inner and outer worlds. Inspiration is everywhere, in the people we know and meet, the places we have been, the stories we hear, in everything we feel. When I sit down to paint, it all comes together in surprising ways. My work has been most prolific in its exploration on feminism from a contextual lens: women in India and their contemporary identities. I paint by hand, mostly in gouache, and it allows for creating imperfect nuanced pieces, each different in its energy and emotion.
"There is no ideal type of woman, we all have multitudes within ourselves."
The pandemic saw me rediscover my love for writing and I combined it with my passion for art through meditative mindful comics. I draw my observations on themes such as connecting deeply with our inner selves, the joy of travelling and discovery, working through creative anxiety and what it means to grow as a person and an artist.
My work explores ideas of femininity and expression while opening up dialogues about roots, identity and image. There is no ideal type of woman, we all have multitudes within ourselves. The myriad modern personalities I now paint are an amalgam of the women I grew up around — of quiet strength, prismatic and confident, tender, resolute and unapologetically themselves.
The women in my family, especially my mom and grandmother, have been the most significant influences in shaping who I am today. Multifaceted, highly progressive, loving and charismatic, my nani was an avant-garde educator that raised four incredibly strong daughters that each charted out her own path. My mom, who is a doctor and a painter herself, routinely astounds me with her capacity to be both incredibly kind and resolute concurrently. They were my earliest role models and remain my closest friends and supporters till date. :)
"Despite coming from different walks of life, we shared our passion for redefining the contemporary woman: a striking mix of traditional and modern, confident and dynamic. With the fearlessness to chart a new path, and the grace to do it with tenderness and respect for her roots."
In a country as culturally rich and diverse as India, women are expected to embody many roles. These plentiful but rigid definitions have begun seeing a slow and (often times) painful evolution. As an artist, and more so as a woman in India, I have to say we have a long and difficult way to go before it can be said that every woman here feels safe and heard. I knew after my very first call with Pritika that this collaboration would be incredibly rewarding. It is rare for a project to align with both your personal and professional beliefs, so thoroughly! Despite coming from different walks of life, we shared our passion for redefining the contemporary woman: a striking mix of traditional and modern, confident and dynamic. With the fearlessness to chart a new path, and the grace to do it with tenderness and respect for her roots.
With every conversation, the painting took on a life of its own. Days were spent in meticulous research and we laboured endlessly on details. We put in a lot of heart, tried to capture the many facets of women we know and identify with, through the use of eclectic visual elements, patterns and colours, hidden motifs and meaningful layering. Everything from their body language, their outfits and expressions, to their interaction with the space and each other, reflects the narratives of these characters that embody the spirit of Prakti.
I hope we can all find something of ourselves in this piece, and something new to discover.