Myth and fable apart, Seema Kohli’s canvases are layered with many, many stories rooted as much in philosophy as in knowledge gained in modern times, a parable of tales both imagined and real, till one can no longer tell the real from the imagined. Art columnist Kishore Singh says “if you look closely at her canvases and the tapestry of motifs unravels into more legends; turn voyeur and the epics are but a background to the unfolding melodramas of daily lives turned epic. She serves up the Upanishads and newspaper headlines in doses of caffeine. It is this that gives her canvases credible status as a chronicler of narratives past and present, Indian in their essence but universal in their context. “I am a mirror,” she says. “When I paint, you see not what I have made but what you want to see. “I,” Seema Kohli, painter and teller of stories, “am both myth and reality. Pick the one you want, but remember, the mirror distorts, and so the myth might be reality, and reality myth.”
Born in 1960, Seema Kohli has created her own niche in the world of contemporary art since past 35 years. Her creative repertoire is eclectic, encompassing a wide range of mediums ranging from painting, murals, experiential installation performances, films to installations, sculptures and each a unique expression of her style. She has over time has brought a synergy of her unique sensibilities and her art. Working with oils on canvas, inks, mixed mediums, ceramics and printmaking, her work has redefined the basic contours of figurative art in India, finding admirers across the planet.
Gifted as she is with a prolific brush of creative energy Kohli moved through the ‘Unborn Series’ and finally arrived at ‘The Golden Womb’ or the ‘Hiranya Garbha Koham’ series that propelled her into an orbit of her own. Her work captures in its entirety the perpetual change, order, strength and fragility, colors and rhythm, melody and exuberance of the elemental world. It talks about the creation, the cosmic journey, of the oneness of being and the final liberation in relation to the golden womb or hiranyagarbha.
Seema Kohli has had over 30 solo show in Venice, Brussels, Melbourne, London, New York, Dubai, Singapore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and many more. Has participated in International Biennale (Venice, Shanghai, India), Art fairs (Hong Kong, Basel, Beijing, Madrid, India) Her work can be seen as public art as murals of 10’ x100’ at the T3 Delhi International Airport, Mumbai International/Domestic Airport, the Defence Ministry, Tata Residency, Manipal University, ONGC, Tata Center of Excellence, Park Hyatt, Chennai, Lila Hotel-Delhi, Bangalore and many more.
She has had interactive session and experiential performances at WuWei Wisdom Sanctuary Bali 2016, Venice Biennale 2015, TedEx Chennai 2013, WIN Conference Rome 2012, Prague 2013,India 2014/2016; NGMA Bangalore 2010, 2012 etc. She has received the Gold at Florence Biennale 2009, 1 Premio " Video, the YFLO Women Achiever’s Award, the LKA Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in 2008. Her works are a part of various private and public collections like Melinda Bill Gates Foundation, Museums including Rubin’s Museum and MOSA-Brussels, Kochi Museum of Arts and many more.
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