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Sahana is an Artist currently studying in the Painting Department at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA. She was born in Mumbai, India, and has spent the majority of her early life in Singapore. During this time she has travelled extensively and had exposure to various different cultures around t… Read More
Sahana is an Artist currently studying in the Painting Department at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA. She was born in Mumbai, India, and has spent the majority of her early life in Singapore. During this time she has travelled extensively and had exposure to various different cultures around the globe. Read Less
I jumped into the ocean through a meter thick carpet of jellyfish and my skin crawled. They were thinly spread and small but this did nothing to assuage my fear of the gelatinous, stinging creatures. The actual dive, fortunately, was jelly-free. The life in this world was so diverse that if I were to describe ever… Read More
I jumped into the ocean through a meter thick carpet of jellyfish and my skin crawled. They were thinly spread and small but this did nothing to assuage my fear of the gelatinous, stinging creatures. The actual dive, fortunately, was jelly-free. The life in this world was so diverse that if I were to describe every color and texture I would go mad, and madder still to process each creature with its own hilarious, grotesque or pornographic aberrations. To maximize on this sensory overload, everything seemed to be either eating or getting eaten (or both all at once), connected so intricately that one body fused into another until all forms ceased to make anatomical sense.
Then out of this chaotic, confusing, and decadent scene one little fish, about the size of my palm, caught my fancy. I followed it and immediately lost myself in its childlike innocence. I was engrossed in a fantasy that I had its body, and like a God assuming the form of His creation, I mimicked its movements as I swam above it. Then as quickly as this trance slipped over me, the blinders came off. I turned to swim back to t`he people I had come with but all I saw was blue. Blood pounded in my ears. I couldn’t tell which direction I had come from. There was just the endlessly patterned coral and the endlessly empty blue. The fish kept going where it was going and I was completely and hideously alone.



My work seeks to explore and express the turbulence that exists within the human ego. Within this single underwater experience my mind was constantly in a state of flux. On the surface of a single painting the fascination, megalomania, silence, fear, and humor can be interwoven so intricately and expressed so intensely that the sum of these interactions becomes an experience in itself.
Animals appear frequently in my work both out of my fascination for them and because I believe that the space in between humans and other animals is a wonderful area to play with. As a child I was fascinated with a book called “When Hippo was Hairy” that chronicled animal fables from various countries across Africa. The animals in that book were used to facilitate moral learning, acting as platforms for children to project their own emotions. I am interested in the balance of dominance that exists in this relationship.
The narratives in my work occur at the intersection between mythology and culturally hybrid life experiences. Thus when I work I feel very distinctly that I am creating my own world, its rules governed by my experiences of having been submerged in one culture after the next. Drawing and creating stage installations work as tools to generate images that are a combination of grotesque and comic that then feed back into my paintings. The process of creating the installations helps increase the intensity with which I believe in my narratives.
The models help create a situation based in real perspective that then allows me to exercise my freedom in creating a hierarchical perspective - where elements are arranged depending more on thematic or metaphorical importance rather than simply on perspective. This manner of organization stems from my observations of how royalty are portrayed in Mughal and Rajput paintings.
The worlds I create are filled with patterns and clashing textures - an aesthetic that derives as much from the aesthetics of spiritual Tibetan Thangka paintings as from my early life experiences in tropical rainforests and coral reefs. I am inspired by the experience of constantly discovering something new within these environments, and this is a crucial component for my images to act as worlds unto themselves. Read Less
Member Since: Feb 13, 2012