Viraj Khanna’s exhibition explores the politics of identities through his collage art

Harmony Cardenas

Viraj Khanna entered the art scene in 2021 with his exhibit, ‘What My Mom Did not Teach Me’. The title was a mindful try at distancing his newly-located id as an artist from his track record as designer and co-founder of AK-Alright, the all set-to-use label of trend designer Anamika Khanna, his mother. To this end, Khanna utilised no textiles, the artwork of which he has realized from several years of observing his mother at do the job.

In his second present, which serves as a sequel, the 25-calendar year-outdated closes the hole. He continues to render his signature collage method in paintings and sculptures—but this time, also textiles, applying hand-embroidery methods that occur from decades of doing work with kaarigars in West Bengal while manufacturing his garments. “When we develop clothing for our small business, the purpose is to make the wearer experience a selected way. My artwork is a reflection of the way I see the entire world. The goal is fully diverse but the methods are comparable,” Khanna points out.

Untitled, 2021 (Hand embroidery on cotton, 29 X 30 inches)

Khanna’s paintings and embroidered canvases are chaotic, chaotic even. We see disfigured bodies: ghostly eyes peeping by levels of colour and paint splatter a fish-head juxtaposed with a woman’s overall body a gentleman coated with distinctive facial elements, seemingly keeping them on—his masks. The a number of faces and exaggerated capabilities “depict a behavioural adaptation because of to the influences of culture”. “There is a frequent fight among our raw, organic form versus our conditioned sort,” Khanna provides.

At the beginning of all his parts, Khanna produces a collage—a method he picked up for the duration of lockdown, ripping absent hanging visuals from old encyclopaedias and journals to conquer his boredom. “I commonly get the job done with a determine I established while experimenting with collage. It has a sharp-minimize deal with and gigantic lips with a surreal sense to it,” he suggests. Rendered in his fibreglass sculptures, this determine turns into disturbingly daily life-sized and discombobulating. Photograph it with its massive, filler-ed lips set onto the overall body of a meditating ascetic or that of a cow. Khanna hopes for the viewer “to enter this alternate surreal environment and consider about the exaggerations of daily life in different ways”. He adds, “I want them to consider about how considerably of their individual steps are a end result of influence and how much of their actions are due to the fact of their possess correct character.”

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