Enroute of constructing art, Gargi Chandola masterfully deconstructs norms by redefining boundaries, pushing creative horizons. It’s within this ebb and flow that Chandola finds her true expression. Gargi Chandola’s artistic journey follows a unique orbit; each chapter is an exploration of human notions, territory, power, and mental isolation. Her creative journey took flight in her early years, a realm of sketching and colours that found its roots in the guidance of her grandmother, an influential and dear figure in Gargi’s early life.
Trying to find her calling, Chandola ventured into Communication design only to find out that design school’s rigidity wasn’t her cup of tea. From there, she pursued internships at design studios, charting an unconventional path that led her to co-found an arts studio with her life partner. Collaborative projects, murals, zines, and digital art embellish her artistic repertoire, yet a dedicated painting practice remained untapped.
The pandemic has played a crucial role in shaping her art style. Her recent series, conceived against the backdrop of the pandemic’s isolation, draws inspiration from the Rhesus Macaques—observing their territorial dance and battles. The traditional Indian miniature art form becomes both her brush and chisel, a way to construct messages while dismantling preconceived notions. She delicately unravels themes of gender, identity, and socio-political hierarchies, entwining them with a thread of humour that creates a thought-provoking tapestry. The series transcends monkeys’ playful antics to mirror human behaviour, creating a tapestry of power dynamics and isolation of the mind.
The balance between tradition and modernity evident in Chandola’s art stems from her deep commitment to honing traditional skills. Indian miniature art becomes a vehicle for contemporary expression, keeping these age-old techniques alive for future artists to explore.
Infused with humour, her art waltzes between serious undertones and playful nuances. Chandola’s outlook on life weaves through her creations, from the whimsical to the profound, a reflection of her coping mechanism in a world where control wavers.
Beyond paper paintings and murals, each medium adds a distinct dimension to her artistic voice. Murals beckon a larger canvas, interacting with people, weather, and street life, whereas zines and paintings offer solitude and an intricate exploration of storytelling.
As a co-founder of the Post-Art Project, Chandola’s journey ventures beyond personal pursuits. This multi-disciplinary arts studio bestows fresh perspectives, enriching her creative process even when it is not directly tied to her artistry. In her world beyond art, Chandola is a Sci-Fi enthusiast, journeying through books and self-initiated projects. Travelling fuels her creative furnace, observing landscapes and life along highways and discovering beauty in every destination.
Fall from Grace
In a harmonious dance between tradition and contemporary, solitude and engagement, Gargi Chandola’s artistic narrative unfolds—a journey woven with creativity, growth, and a kaleidoscope of experiences.
Chandola’s art not only pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of Indian miniature art but also pushes its boundaries by incorporating contemporary themes and concepts. By blending tradition with modernity, she challenges the notion that these traditional techniques are confined to the past, proving that they can still be relevant and impactful in today’s world. Through her unique approach, Chandola breathes new life into age-old practices, inspiring a new generation of artists to embrace their roots while embracing innovation.
Words Irene S.V.
Images Courtesy of Gargi Chandola