Photo: George Malouf | "godhood," 2020 (detail)

Anukriti Kaushik

2021-2022 Studio Resident

Anukriti Kaushik (b. 1998, India) is a multidisciplinary artist, predominantly working with drawing, painting, sculpture, video and writing. Their practice involves rendering the female and queer body to recontextualise it as sacred and sublime. Drawing from personal experiences, they generate visual narratives that challenge rigid norms and traditions pertaining to beauty, gender and sexuality within the desi community. Through the creation of gender ambiguous personas they envision deities that break away from religious constrictions and limitations of the gender binary to envision autonomy of the queer body.

The whimsical depiction of bodies in their work is influenced by movements like abstract expressionism, surrealism, and experimental film. They are particularly interested in the canon presented by these movements and in finding creative ways of disrupting it while maintaining a lineage towards its values. Physical features like a big nose, body hair, and dark eyes, which are recurring transgressive symbols in their work, challenge archetypes of beauty. Elaborate mark-making of body hair and intricate imagery is a symbolic reinvention of prayer and devotion to their Gods as it requires intention, focus and repetition. By incorporating hindu iconography into personal definitions of queerness and bodily liberation, they attempt to subvert heteropatriarchal limitations that endorse confinement within the gender binary. Additionally, they reimagine the Goddess as an all encompassing, transformative figure who possesses evolving personas.

They focus on the dissonance between the existence of non-conforming bodies in real time as compared to their representation within Indian media and culture. The caricaturization, erasure and misrepresentation of these bodies is an active tool of suppression that leaves little to no room for self expression and agency. To disrupt that, they revisit folklore from their childhood. Rephrasing personal and collective narratives helps them create alternative worlds outside of current oppressive ones to reimagine beauty as infinite and universal.