W I L D L I F E by Manik Raj Nakra
March 13 – May 1, 2021
By appointment only, Thurs-Sat, noon-6pm
Inspired by stories of nature regenerating and reclaiming space during the Covid19 pandemic, W I L D L I F E examines what happens when humanity removes itself from the natural world. The exhibition also introduces a new material for the artist- the ceremonial bindi, worn for centuries on the forehead in Indian culture for spiritual, traditional, and fashion reasons. It can be seen as a third eye creating an opening to infinity or as a symbol of femininity. For the natural world depicted in the paintings, the renewed and rejuvenated flora and fauna are anthropomorphized with hundreds of bindis as wildlife reincarnated with third eyes carrying remnants of memory. The severed animal heads from which the new nature grows are depicted upside down to represent self-sabotage and the mistakes of the past.Influenced by the architecture of ancient forts and palaces of Indian Mughals, Iran, Oman, and Pakistan, the paintings are installed in window frames handmade by the artist as pieces looking out onto a world from isolation with new wonder, new honesty, and new beauty. At first, the viewer encounters these windows from the "inside looking out" but with bindis all over functioning as eyes they equally become the "outside looking in" giving the paintings an existential feel to reflect on these uncertain times and space.Manik Raj Nakra’s work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Texas and San Francisco, a member of the 2019 Crit Group program with The Contemporary in Austin, TX, The LINE Residency with Big Medium in 2020, and a client list that includes Converse, The Oxford American, The LINE Hotel, Facebook, Urban Outfitters, amongst others.
This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.View Map