Nirmal Raja an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Milwaukee, WI. Born in India, she has lived and traveled in several countries. Raja received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature in India, a diploma in Graphic Design from the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
She is a mentoring resident at RedLine Milwaukee, an urban arts incubator. Occasionally, she curates exhibitions and organizes artistic collaborations.
She has participated in solo and group shows in the Midwest, nationally and internationally. She has won several awards and has recently received grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Milwaukee Arts Board in support of an exhibition at Redline Milwaukee. She has also received grants for traveling her work to exhibitions across the nation from the Mary L. Nohl Suitcase Export Fund.
Most often, her work deals with concepts of displacement, cultural negotiation and memory. Currently she is exploring connections between drawing and writing, coding and mark-making. More info: www.nirmalraja.com
The intangible and the ever changing are fascinating places to explore in my work. As a transplanted individual living between two cultures, I am constantly trying to identify where and how I fit into a place. Liminal concepts like memory and perception of time and space are natural extensions for this exploration.
I approach remembrance as transitional: how we add to, subtract from, and refract our memories. These fleeting and ephemeral moments are activated and brought to the present through installation strategies and video juxtapositions with drawings and prints. I implicate the audience in my installations by employing cast shadows and reflections to facilitate unexpected encounters that question what is imagined and what is real. Embodied cultural memory of childhood enters seamlessly through the incorporation of iconic diagrams and indigenous art forms from my country of origin- India. The fragmentation and partiality of my experience as a transplanted individual is expressed through the incorporation of layers, line and text in the form of texture and the ground as something that is not quite solid and secure.
I approach art making as a communication of sensations rather than production of objects. I believe in letting the idea dictate the medium and the potential for it to transcend itself in order to communicate.