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15 young Indian artists to follow right now

JUL 25, 2016 | By Raisa Tolia
In celebration of our 15th year anniversary milestone, we bring you a curated list of India’s young and talented artists who are making a mark for themselves domestically as well as globally. Famed for working across various mediums, from sculptures and installations to textiles and paper, these Gen-X maestros are all about going beyond the conventional.
1. Aman Khanna
After graduating from London College of Communication in 2004, he setup his design studio called Infomen in the city, followed by Infonauts in New Delhi a year later. After having dabbled in the two dimensional world for eight years, he started creating endearing clay sculptures. Aptly titled, his Claymen are inspired by his surroundings and the common man and divided into three categories: Clay sculptures, dysfunctional and functional clay objects. We love how Aman’s pieces reflect a systematic approach to design to narrate a visual story through these quirky characters.
2. Anirban Mitra
Born in Kolkata, Anirban persisted in art since he was a child. He pursued a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Painting from Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. Unconventional and visually arresting, his paintings are his interpretation of popular urban culture and inspired by candy wrappers from the local markets, painted trucks, graphic posters and online games like Farmville. Wait a moment as your eyes adjust to the vibrant colours, and then paintings starts to reveal its easily relatable story.
3. Astha Butail
This Amritsar born artist is largely influenced by her maternal grandmother’s paintings, and also textiles produced by her mother and sister. Pondicherry played a very important role in her formative years, along with her education on learning calligraphy under a local artist and art through a Chinese artist before obtaining two fashion degrees from NIFT. In her work, she plays with various media like wood, textiles, paper and gilded thread. It is the instant connection and simplicity of her artworks that strikes you at first glance.
4. Meenakshi Sengupta
The young Kolkata based artist obtained her MVA in Painting from the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda. She uses traditional pictorial representation to push formal and aesthetic conventions to produce new meanings. She also explores gender relationships in contemporary life through her paintings. In 2013, she debuted her solo show titled Flavour Chart at Gallery Maskara in Mumbai. By stretching the special perimeter of miniature paintings with familiar motifs and themes, she offers a colourful delight for the sore eyes.
5. Parul Gupta
This Delhi based artist works with clean architectural lines in built environments. She uses the “space” as her medium, making subtle changes to see how the observer reacts to it. She also works with two dimensional lines on paper through which she showcases the subtle movements she experiences when she is in various architectural spaces. By privileging aesthetics, Parul’s work plays with shadows and angles to trick the eye into forming gorgeous forms.
6. Prabhakar Pachpute
Born in Chandrapur a small city in Maharashtra, this artist comes from a family of coal miners. His works involve sculptures, or mixtures of sculpture, drawing and light, or where these elements came together in stop-animation films. We particularly love how his art expresses stories of the mines as he has heard them while growing up and his observation of the relations that exist between the miners in a proverbial style.
7. Prajakta Potnis
This Mumbai based artist completed her Bachelors and Masters in Painting from Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. Her work dwells between an individual’s personal space and the world outside, which is separated by merely a wall that acts like a witness to history. Through her work she portrays how policies and resolutions passed from the top affect a middle class home with the wall as witness to their troubles. We feel her work is almost like a dialogue between poetic and reticent. She has showcased her work all over the globe right from Poland to New York where she was a part of the group exhibition.
8. Rithika Merchant
After completing her degree in BFA from the Parsons in New York, Rithika went on to study Painting and Conceptual Practice at the Hellenic International Studies In The Arts in Paros, Greece. Her paintings explore superstition, myth and ritual as well as depict scenes and creatures from her own imagination. Her art is an exploration of looking for a common thread that runs through different cultures and religions as she believes similar stories and myths are shared by various cultures. One can almost hear whispers of several traditions from her paintings, much like puting a puzzle together.
9. Rohan Shrestha
Following his father Rakesh Shrestha’s footsteps, Rohan started his own professional photography practice after graduation. He worked under his father, one of the India’s foremost photographers, along with other noted professionals before starting his career. He is best known for his photographing celebrities, covers and editorials for leading publications and has developed ad campaigns of several leading brands. He pushed creativity frontiers with his first solo show titled Hanami, a Diesel+Art Initiative. The show, which was a culmination of his travels to Japan, saw him experimenting with projection photography, video imagery and infrared images. We love his stunning works of commercial and creative art that carries a left-of-centre way of doing things.
10. Sachin Tekade
Born in Karodi in Maharashtra, Sachin spent his childhood in village pastures. He holds an Art Teacher’s Diploma (ATD) from Akola, and a BA in Visual Arts from MS University, Baroda. He is drawn to the colour white and has been using paper as his medium for the past decade. He constantly experiments with the textural qualities of paper by cutting and folding it to create  a different style of art making. The fact that his works of art are typically devoid of colour, it communicates to one the spirit of purity.
11. Sahej Rahal
Mumbai born, Sahej is a Fine Arts graduate from Rachna Sansad Academy. His work reuses discarded objects found in dumpsters and off the streets to make tools, weapons, masks and musical instruments that resemble artefacts from lost civilisations, while bearing significance to our times. These objects and artefacts are then used in his performances or shows, where he creates characters by draping them in fur or fabric to add depth to it. His work simply shows how to find beauty in some archetypical ugly things.
12. Sameer Kulavoor
This visual artist and illustrator is also the Founder and Director of independent design studio Bombay Duck Designs. He is known for The Ghoda Cycle Project that explores Indian cycles for collaboration with Paul Smith and The Blue Book that focuses on the unique use of blue tarpaulin across the country. He conducted his first solo show in April this year titled Please Have A Seat at Artisans. The exhibit originated from random sketchbook drawings made over the past four years. We like the fact that Sameer’s work ethics are rooted in throwing caution to the wind, giving a hundred percent and constantly reinventing.
13. Tanya Goel
This artist returned to New Delhi after attaining her Postgraduate studies at SAIC and MFA from the Yale University School of Art. For her latest showcase named “LEVEL” she collected fragments of varying hues and textures from four construction sites in New Delhi as the primary raw material. Her work is about the physical experience and engagement with things as opposed to observing them from a distance. It is great to experience the intensity of “encountering” surfaces through her artworks.
14. Valay Shende
Born in Nagpur, this video artist and sculptor received his BFA in sculpting from the JJ School of Art in Mumbai after which he did an art residency at the Open Air Program, Point Ephemere, Paris. Inspired by his surrounding, his work focuses on the troubles plaguing contemporary urban society and its members. Migrating Histories of Molecular Identities was his most recent show that was showcased at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. We admire how Valay’s works attempt to question the maladies affecting urban society and humans today.
15. Elena Pereira
A fashion graduate, Elena is a conceptual artist and designer who resides in Bengaluru. After receiving her Masters Degree in Contextual Design from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, she setup her own graphic design practice – Studiobutterfruit. The studio currently conducts visual work for restaurants, bars etc. Along with her graphic establishment, she also works on the object of design that focuses on making objects made from nature using flowers, butterflies, grass along with metal and resins. It is easy to form an association with her work that subtly reflects life’s daily struggles.
Also read: Thukral and Tagra’s interactive new art