Abirpothi

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Artist- Designer Viraj Khanna Showcases a Dramatic Tapestry of Embroidered Artworks in Los Angeles

New Delhi, July: Artist-designer Viraj Khanna is presenting a new body of work in a group exhibition titled ‘Like Share and Subscribe’ that will be showcased at the Rajiv Menon Contemporary in Los Angeles from July 14th to 28th. Viraj’s works employ traditional forms of Indian embroidery that display the possibilities of the medium through a series of abstract and narrative-driven works.

Viraj’s ten fully hand-embroidered artworks, a slight departure from his signature embroidery style, will be the exhibition’s highlight. He has used a two-pronged approach: The first is to showcase the possibilities of the medium, wherein the viewer from afar finds these to be watercolour or acrylic paintings, only to realise that they are hand-embroidered later. The second is a narrative-driven approach wherein he has captured some intimate moments of life through embroidery threads.

“I have been working on them since the past year, from conceptualisation to finishing. I make a painting in one work style and then create embroidery referencing the painting. The other style references photographs, and then I change the visual using different embroidery materials,” says Viraj Khanna, adding that a piece can take as much as 700-2000 hours each. Like Share and Subscribe examines art-making in the era of influencer culture, focusing on South Asian artists and their diasporas with practices that currently contend with popular culture. Blurring the boundary between pop art and fine art, the group’s artists explore the current moment’s aesthetics. By imagining, critiquing, and elevating the new forms of online consumerism and media, these artists have created hyper-relevant works built for long-lasting reflection on this specific moment.

Talking about narrative-based works, he says his approach has been focused on him “styling” the image. “I am particularly interested in eye-catching moments. We save memories which are most exciting or meaningful to us in different ways and sometimes share them on social media. I like to think about how we always share our best moments and only the best parts of our lives on social media, creating an image of perfection.”

This exhibition contends with diasporic art in an era of content, responding to a moment where influence is synonymous with sensibility. Working across genres, from pop art to more formal modes of portraiture, the artists in Like Share Subscribe speak to this climate while reimagining, questioning, and challenging its popular aesthetics. These works take on a new notion of the “popular” in popular culture, finding new forms of permanence in a landscape defined by ephemera and trends. The other participating artists in the group show are Ahsan Memon, Ahsan Javaid, Komail Aijazuddin, Maria Qamar, Navinder Nangla, Preetika Rajgariah, Shivy Galtere and Tarini Sethi.

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