My artistic practice began as a reaction to an alien environment. I was born in New Delhi, but was brought to the States for a better future. The essence of my work lies in my need to resolve the often- conflicting aspects of my hybrid identity. The way in which I navigate the social, cultural, and spiritual sphere of my life rely deeply on the need to both assert myself as an individual and as part of a community.
I use vibrant colors, decorative patterns, and designs reflected in Bandez (block printing) saris. The use of red and yellow colors is considered holy, and is symbolic of a certain time, place and action in my personal life. Repetition signifies the process of my mark making, like focusing on the meaning or sound of a mantra, rather than counting its repetitions. The combination of architectural forms and organic lines create a metaphoric, tectonic view. In conceptualizing my work I have been influenced by artists and writers like Reena Banerjee, Jessica Stockholder and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
I use variety of textiles such as cotton (Khadi), muslin, and linen. These fabrics are commonly worn by marginalized sections of society in India. The rough texture of these materials denotes the ruggedness of the common man and is akin to the surface of my paintings. I experiment with mixing layers of turmeric, red chili powder, fennel seeds, garam masalas and basmati rice. I was introduced to these ingredients through my mother’s cooking since I was little. All these materials are important in my life, and are associated with my childhood memories, thus holding great cultural importance. The bleeding through of these materials on the cloth is what I strive for, and gives it a sense of freshness and blends of aroma. My artistic explorations exist between two and three dimensions, and deconstruct abstraction by uncovering layers of uncertainty, may it be personal, compositional, or material.
Kaveri Raina was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. She moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2000. In May 2011 she graduated with Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, and Photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). In 2011 completed her internship at the Arctic Studies Center as a photographer, with the Natural Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC.
In 2010 she was a finalist for the Fulbright U.S Scholar fellowship to study Contemporary Indian artists in India. In 2011-2012 she was in India working on an art project which was funded through Kickstarter, Creating Minds: Perspectives on Contemporary Indian Artists. She worked with Gallery Threshold, under the gallery director Tunty Chauhan. She also assisted Ms. Chauhan with the 2012 India Art Fair in New Delhi. She was also actively making art work at Arpana Caur Studios, and taught young girls English. Among the art happenings, Ms. Raina also was a Visiting Art Student at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Art and Aesthetics department.
She has exhibited her work at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, NY, Ohio Art League, OH, Taubam Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, and Queens Museum of Art, NY which was featured in New York Times.
In April 2013 she completed her Artist Residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She worked as an Teacher Aid at the Dalhberg Gibson Learning Center, Association for the developmentally disabled in Columbus, OH. In 2013 she received the Professional Development and the supply grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. In June 2014 she travelled to Dresden, Germany on an Artist Residency fellowship exchange through the Greater Columbus Arts Council. She is currently attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for her MFA in Painting and Drawing.