I think that contemporary art as a whole has a tendency towards making political statements. Sometimes, this involves examining sexism and racism, as with artists we looked at previously. Other artists, though, take less of a specific approach, and just explore trends and ideas present throughout all of humanity. An example of such a comprehensive artist is Reena Saini Kallat, who creates art to examine life in our incredibly globalized world.
Reena Saini Kallat was born in 1973 in Delhi, India. She went to art school in Mumbai, and has come to use a variety of media, like drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. She has had numerous exhibits around the world– in England, the United States, Spain, and many, many more. I think the reason why people in so many different cultures are attracted to her work because it’s truly applicable to everyone. Her art shows how humans shift and move and connect with each other, and how much this happens nowadays.
This is a very literal example of the themes I was discussing in Reena’s work, but I think it really helps to show her themes of interconnectedness in modern society. In this large exhibition piece from 2015, she “recreates migration routes across the world through a symbolic web of human and cultural movement and exchange.” The Reena often uses wires in her work, as seen above, because, to her, they act “as conduits of contact that transmit ideas and information.” Another part of what makes a piece like this so powerful is the sheer size of it– the expansiveness of humankind feels more palpable when looking at a super-sized map of the world.
Reena has a series of pieces like this, in which she uses rubber stamps painted with acrylics that she then arranges to create a portrait. There is a lot more subtlety behind these images, but it is interesting how she is able to create an entrancing, lifelike image out of only household items. From far away, the portrait is clear, and almost looks like a normal painting, but closer up, the individual contents of the picture become clearer, and less distinguishable, as shown below.
In modern society, I think it’s super important and admirable for artists to create their pieces with their audience in mind– not just their intended audience, but really anyone who might see their art. By integrating such a global perspective into her work, I think Reena is taking a step forward in the right direction. To me, art should be relatable and accessible for everyone. In Reena’s case, she accomplishes this by not only relating to the viewer– but encouraging them to have more of an open view of the world, as well.