The upcoming faces of Indian contemporary art

They are questioning what art does, creating original, bold works, and are all below 40
  • Pallavi Paul, 29: Paul is working on a three-channel film titled ‘The Dreams Of Cynthia’, a semi-documentary about a fictional post-industrial town. Working primarily with videos and the installation form, Paul says her work usually deals with philosophical questions that surround the concept of non-fiction. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
  • Hardeep Pandhal, 31: Pandhal, a second-generation British citizen of Indian descent, has been tackling the theme of his south Asian identity in his work. Pandhal, whose works include drawings done in the style of satirical political cartoons from the “Resistance Through Rituals” series, is also taking part in the Colombo Art Biennale, which began on 3 December.
  • Hardeep Pandhal, 31: Pandhal, a second-generation British citizen of Indian descent, has been tackling the theme of his south Asian identity in his work. Pandhal, whose works include drawings done in the style of satirical political cartoons from the “Resistance Through Rituals” series, is also taking part in the Colombo Art Biennale, which began on 3 December.
  • Hardeep Pandhal’s work in collaboration with his mother, Davinder Kaur Pandhal.
  • Aarti Sunder, 29: According to Tara Lal and Mortimer Chatterjee, Sunder’s “use of drawing and video in performative modes mark her out as one of the most interesting voices in the contemporary Indian art scene”. Sunder’s works also include writings. Indeed, she finds that the medium or form follows the concept
  • A drawing by Aarti Sunder.
  • Parag Sonarghare, 30: Sonarghare has been trained as a painter at the Government Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya before graduating in art history from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara in 2010. His oeuvre is an amalgamation of performance and canvas, and defies easy categorization. Sacheen Khawle
  • Untitled: by Parag Sonarghare
  • Hemali Bhuta, 37: Space has always been a crucial aspect of Hemali Bhuta’s work. “My attempt in current practice is to explore the idea of a hybrid space, in between the studio and the gallery, in between randomness and composition and, most importantly, where the form ceases to become space,” she says. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
  • Pratap Morey, 35: There is a sense of fury in Pratap Morey’s engagement with the city, and this spills over to his work. Along with photographic documentation, he developed his visual language through the architectural element in his drawings and engravings, which sell upwards of Rs50,000. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
  • Sumakshi Singh, 36: The question of how people “see”, says Sumakshi Singh, “with their eyes, with their bodies in space, with their minds”, is key to her work. Over the years, her artistic questions seemed to have shifted from the space which we experience as “place”, to the spaces inhabited more subtly, “spaces of memory, conditioning and imagination”.
  • One of Sumakshi Singh’s work
  • Tanya Goel, notation in x, y, z, 2015,
  • Prabhakar Pachpute, 30: Pachpute’s works had been exhibited at the 2016 National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, where his wall drawings of miners and other working class men was accompanied by a stop-animation video piece. Besides charcoal, he works across a range of media, including terracotta fibre-glass and even paper pulp. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
  • Rohini Devasher, 38: Devasher, one of the more prolific contemporary artists in India today, won the Inlaks Fine Arts Award twice in a row (2007, 2008) and also the Art India Skoda Breakthrough Artist award. Devasher explores the overlaps between science, biology, technology and internet. Priyanka Parashar/Mint
  • Asim Waqif, 38: An architect by training, who also occasionally lectures at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, Waqif’s art practice stems from his interest in the built environment and how it influences people. Some of his works over recent years make use of reclaimed material, from construction sites as well as trash found on site. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
  • Acid on acid
  • Parul Gupta, 36: The line is Gupta’s visual language, her artistic medium. The exploration of space through the medium of a line is taking her conceptual art, which can be priced between Rs50,000 and Rs5 lakh, in varied directions. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
  • Hairfall
  • Dheer Kaku, 27: Trained as a painter, Kaku’s interest lay in the nuts and bolts of digital media, long-exposure photographs, sensors, video-editing. One of the more interesting art pieces that Kaku made was shown at What About Art? held in Mumbai last year. It was a sensor-activated video installation, which would change screens each time a viewer passed by. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
  • Shweta Bhattad, 31: Bhattad, whose art is rooted in agrarian communities, has a masters in sculpture from Vadodara’s Maharaja Sayajirao University. She constantly refers to her work as art performances and refuses to be held hostage by medium. Art’s potential lies more in the concept and the questions it raises, she says.
  • Shweta Bhattad performing ‘Do the Glorified Rape Scenes in Movies Inspires you to Rape’. Lalit Vikamshi
  • Paribartana Mohanty, 34: Having trained as a painter at the Dhauli College of Art and Crafts in Odisha, Mohanty’s early body of work was oil portraits. Over the years, his video and performance works have started to explore the idea of a crisis, how we understand ourselves through our response to it. Nithin RK
  • Paribartana Mohanty performing ‘Act The Victim’ with Inder Salim.
  • Prajakta Potnis, 36: Capitalism, the impact of war, environmental degradation, genetically modified food, the loss of privacy, the works of Potnis, who did her MFA from Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai, are inherently derived from contemporary fears and anxieties. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
  • Madhu Das, 29: This graduate from the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru engages in the human condition in terms of public and private space, the constitution of borders, and the way people interact with space. Das, who is a winner of the Inlaks Fine Arts Award in 2015, has also been selected as visiting artist at Harvard University’s South Asia Institute. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
  • Madhu Das with one of his artwork.
  • Benitha Perciyal, 36: Born in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, Benitha Perciyal’s origins seep into the material she chooses to work with. “I don’t remember (using) anything plastic till I came to the city,” says the artist, who uses only natural substances like coal, sand, leaf, incense and seeds, among other things, to create her art installations. SaiSen/Mint
  • A piece by Benitha Perciyal. SaiSen/Mint
  • Priyesh Trivedi, 26: The young man behind the ‘Adarsh Balak’ phenomenon didn’t train as an artist, or go to art school—his technical training lies in animation film-making and game design. The series centred around, Adarsh Balak—the ubiquitous boy common to educational posters on moral science, but indulging in activities that were decidedly non-ideal, thus offering an incisive critique of socio-cultural expectations. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
  • Shreyas Karle, 35, Mumbai: Borders are passé as far as Shreyas Karle is concerned. It shows in the fluidity of formats he uses—illustration, collage, video, sculpture and community projects—that “visually harness absurdity and social puns that shine light upon more serious psychological issues and situations” as a biography on the Project 88 gallery website puts it. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
  • Manish Nai, 36: Mumbai-based Nai has had two solos—at Boston’s Kavi Gupta Gallery and the Paris outpost of Galerie Karsten Greve. Nai’s compression pieces, made with threads of jute softened with glue and compressed into shapes in wooden moulds, are well-known. Nai’s attention to procedure and technique is remarkable, whether of unthreading jute, or applying heat to prints, or even in the digital processes of making his works. Dinesh Parab
  • Sahej Rahal, 28: There’s a fictional narrative that runs through Sahej Rahal’s body of work. A graduate of the Rachana Sansad in Mumbai, Rahal had a celebrated start, receiving the Forbes Award for Debut Solo Show in 2014. Using found objects “that have a lived history in the world we inhabit”, from a spoon to industrial debris, he creates large creatures in his installations. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
From the young man behind the ‘Adarsh Balak’ phenomenon, to an artist who prefers to use only natural material for her work, here’s a look at young artists who are defining the contemporary Indian art.