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My drawings, paintings, and time-based media summon the mystical, scientific, and absurd to draw attention to current socio-political predicaments and the sovereignty of nature. Intersecting the boundaries of speculative fiction, visual storytelling, and myth-making, my current work explores the interconnection between humans and non-humans. Borrowed imagery and text bridge the past and present, while imaginative, fantasy-inducing zones of abstraction invite viewers to contemplate the legacies of the landscapes we occupy and exploit.
With an attempt to decolonize both women's bodies and nature, I refer to archaic cultural symbols of fertility in order to reflect on the present-day reproduction rights of various species of flora and fauna. Cross pollinating ancient mythologies and histories, I counter-narrate iconic motifs and attributes, and set them in juxtaposition with one another, to allow opportunities for critical reflection. Threaded throughout are revelations of sexuality, fecundity, kinship, and freedom to rethink about the meaning of motherhood in present times.
My detailed and intimate paintings invite viewers to spend time with them and ponder over the symbiosis between humankind and ecology. How do the worlds that we create in fantasy impact our thinking practices? What are the consequences of fertility and the urge to procreate for the human species? How do we mourn for what we have lost and what efforts are required to regain the biodiversity that is currently on the verge of extinction? How to create a sustainable and respectable correlation between biodiversity and human progress to future-proof our planet for generations to come? Rivers, forests, and intangible heritages have legal rights in certain nations; how might this notion be pushed further?
At times I set these concerns within mystical landscapes that meld images of regeneration, reproduction, cosmology, and microbiology. At the center of these universes are fragile embryos, at turns more diagrammatic or lyrical, interwoven through vegetal and bacterial blooms. As humans and nature continue to adapt to ever-changing, increasingly hostile environments, my works offer both dire warnings and insulated, if uncertain, spheres of refuge.
Manjot completed her B.F.A and M.F.A in Painting from Government College of Art, Panjab University, Chandigarh.
She will be a Visiting Artist Fellow at “The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute” at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA in 2023. She has received “Generator Art Production Fund” grant from Experimenter Gallery, India in 2022.
She has been an artist in residence at Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands (2020-21), 1 Shanthiroad, Bangalore, (2019), Unidee, Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy (2018) funded by Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, India and Peers - Khoj International Artists' Association, New Delhi, (2018).
Her recent participation includes “Where Shall We Plant The Placenta”, A Tale of A Tub, Rotterdam(2022); “Non- Fungible Speculations”, Nature Morte, New Delhi(2022); "The World Awaits You Like a Garden", Latitude 28, New Delhi (2022); "The Pool of Memories", Surrey Art Gallery, Canada(2022); "Hurting and Healing - Let's Imagine a Different Heritage", Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, (2022), ‘Terrain Offline’, Bikaner House, New Delhi, India (2021) and "Garden State", Garage Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2021) among others.
She has received the professional category Annual Award, Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh, 2018; Sohan Qadri Fellowship, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh, 2017; Professional and Student Category Annual Award, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh, 2017 and 2012, respectively and Scholarship to Young Artists, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, in 2011. She was chosen by Hindustan Times as one of the Top 30 under 30 young achievers in 2017.