Specks of dust fly and swirl on canvas as Nandita Chaudhari captures the fathomless forces of the Japan tragedy with her exquisite brush strokes. Her latest works titled, 'The Islands have Shifted', have been inspired by the fragility of human and land mass when confronted by forces beyond control.
The Indian born British artist is the first Indian to be invited to showcase her work at the 54th Venice Biennale a prestigious art exhibition in Italy. Though she isn't a part of the Indian Pavilion, she is happy to see India contemporary art getting worldwide recognition. She says: "Indian Contemporary art for its own sake is receiving substantial global attention largely due to market dynamics and recognition of its equity."As a migrant, she reveals that her work is obviously influenced by her roots. "Many artists began working with certain cultural influences and then migrated to locations where they lived, imbibed and worked alongside a different socio-cultural climate. Their work is classified as transnational. My works have mixed influences, and I think some Indian element will always be in my work somewhere in some form just like the blood in my veins. Most definitely, references to historical data incessantly creeps back into my work, alongside traditional iconology, preference for warmer colours, and a certain metaphor," says the artist.
She identifies with international artists who know no rules. "Although each international artists' work reflects some influence from the country of origin, our works had one common grammar - that of letting mind soar above matter."
When Chaudhari's famous life size elephant 'Boogie Woo' moved from her studio to London's Soho Square, it was a day to remember. "The experience of watching 'Boogie Woo' come to life has been one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. I stood by a few times and watched the public delighting on this piece and children squealing in wonder. It was then auctioned off and bought by the Chairman of Rothschild."
The elephant struck such a chord with the Londonites that soon after, miniature replicas started selling at Selfridges and Carnaby Street. She exclaims, "I went to buy a replica and was kept on the waiting list for several months as multiple editions had sold out!"The Nehru Award recipient has got international acclaim for her figurative and nude portraits. She says: "My works gained increasing recognition outside the country as they got accepted in several prestigious locations including museums and major art institutions, and even now, for me every new day is still full of wonder, hard work, passion and a sense of being on square one - and it will always remain that way.