Rakhi Peswani’s (b. 1977, India) art practice explores various discursive and material aspects of crafts and the nuanced associations of crafts as languages, especially with an emphasis on the hand-made. She is interested in the affective possibilities of materiality and labour as well as the contexts or locations these create in contemporary image making. She has recently been examining the environmental and pedagogical ties associated with craft based practices. Rakhi attained Master’s degree (MFA) in Ceramic Sculpture (2003) and Bachelor’s degree in Painting (2000) from Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.University, Baroda, Gujarat. She has worked as guest faculty at Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad (2004 – 2012), full time faculty at Srishti School of Arts and Design, Bangalore (2012-14), and as Visiting Associate Professor at School of Culture and Creative Expression at Ambedkar University, Delhi (2016-2017).Currently, she works as Associate Professor at the Visual Arts Department, Ashoka University, Sonipat, India.She has held arts workshops in various art colleges, participated in several academic conferences in India. Her works have been widely shown in many curated exhibitions in museums, galleries and biennales in India, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil, UK and Europe. She has held solo exhibitions of her works in Bangalore (2020), Hamburg (2021, 2019), Mumbai (2018, 2013, 2007, 2006), Delhi (2015, 2009) and Hong Kong (2011).
Portrait credit: Malini Ghanathe          
All images courtesy: the artist



Splittings and Re-couplings (Propositions for the tactile), 2022.
Series of 50 soft sculptures, variable dimensions.

Love, Labor, Loss (Some Metaphors for Blood and Honey), 2022.
Velvet fabric, polyester filler, iron armature, variable dimensions.

Splittings and Re-couplings brings together fragments of forms and images from across a range of cultures and categorisations: botanical / zoological repertoires, verbal and mathematical languages in calligraphic or pictographic traditions, ancient and modern agrarian and maritime traditions of knots and equipment, as well as architectural elements, tools and other prosthetics from craft traditions of sewing, weaving and hand carving. From cross-temporal accumulations, the works monumentalise a moment in the present where we can still witness the saturations and tensions of culture with nature; the heterogeneities of seasons and places, rich aromas and flavours of roses and mushrooms, together with our maniacal desires to harness, possess; our homogenising tendencies to order and other. 

By foregrounding soft sculptural formations and the coarseness of the handmade, the works attempt to re-orient the body’s relationality with the world of languages. Mixing and merging disparate signs, the works attempt a retake on the ancient logographs and forgotten forms of writing, amalgamated into an ASMR mode of communication. The fragments propose notes on disabling categorisations in order to enable metaphors towards the tactile and the sensual as possible modes of communication.