Landfill of visual artist Preetika Rajgariah

Preetika Rajgariah Not afraid To make others uncomfortable. Born in India and raised in Texas, this interdisciplinary artist uses humor and a variety of cross-cultural materials to criticize how American culture transformed yoga from ancient spiritual practice to commodities. increase. Rajgariah’s work, which spans paintings, videos and performances, explores tensions in cultural appropriation.

“I feel great cheerfulness and joy in my work, which is what I like about my work,” she says. Houston Near.. “You can find comedy in it. In that sense, the work is the most original, authentic and faithful to itself, as I do a lot of work from my life and experience. “

Rajgariah is one of four artists recently selected for the second iteration. Artists on the site, A 7-week residency program at the Asia Society Texas Center. When I entered her studio on Tuesday afternoon in August, I was greeted by artists and various objects. A table with an array of colorful yoga mats, a pile of digital material hung on an ironing board, and a pair of old tights. Accumulated during her early days as an ice skater. Rajgariah has used Residency as an opportunity to expand her focus on performance, which has been an important part of her practice for the past few years. “It’s very different from creating an object. I just want to confuse and use my body to move these materials,” she says.

Raised in a jersey village immigrant family, Rajgalia was one of the few Indian children to attend school. She had plans to pursue her career as a doctor and used ice skating, art production, and traditional Indian dance as a creative exit from academic pressure. Looking back on her youth, I remembered that Radigaria was very skilled in ice skating, but was dissatisfied with the fact that she “relied on these discolored tights to keep me warm and alive.” I was feeling. The tights that her mother had kept for over 10 years now live in her studio as the basis for her future performance work.

To return to artistic production, Radigaria abandoned the pursuit of the medical field. Two years after she graduated from college in 2008, she completed Artist Residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. This was the cornerstone of her journey as an artist and an experience that opened up the possibilities for her future success. After returning to her Texas, she began to take advantage of Houston’s queer, Indian, and artist communities. In the meantime, she did a lot of weird work, from teaching her to taking pictures of her wedding, to support herself while continuing her work.

In 2019, Rajgariah became the focus of a solo exhibition at Women & Their Work Gallery in Austin, Texas.Titled the exhibition Wild, wild country, Featured on her important performance works Waiting to exhaleIn 2019, a 3-channel video was included along with nearly 90 yoga mats draped and placed in the shape of a Hindu swastika. Although criticized for its link to anti-Semitism and Nazi oppression, the swastika is a positive symbol of health in Hindu beliefs. For Rajgariah, regaining this proper symbol is an ongoing act of resistance to cultural whitewashing in the western world. The performance caused a lot of mixed reactions from the general public, but left a lasting impression on the artist. “It was a very proud moment for me. I like to teach people without teaching them or encouraging them to do research. Much of my interest is in that space of tension. There is a possibility where there is tension, “she says. Houston Near..

After a month of stay, Rajgariah plans to continue exploring performance and her efforts to bring yoga back to its roots. Like many contemporary artists in her life as a Houston artist, Rajgariah has different emotions about the city’s art scene. “”About Houston I don’t think I appreciate the artist enough..Men In order to mean something here, you need to come back away. Houston is a great place because it’s affordable and accessible, but that’s certainly not my limit.“”

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