IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2012

Nirmal Raja
Nirmal Raja
Nirmal Raja
This body of work is a series of investigations into visual representations of time and memory. Using the chance discovery of player piano rolls as a point of departure, I create paintings, prints and collages that make connections across continents, cultures and periods of time.
Player pianos are self playing pianos which were popular in turn of the century America. These pianos use perforated paper rolls in a vacuum chamber to play music. The scroll format and quaint, overtly sentimental lyrics of the piano rolls lend themselves to a dialogue that highlights the passage of time, cultural distance and technological change. I make work responding to these artifacts as an outsider to produce new meaning and merge my own memories into the history these objects embody. My work leads me to ponder how I experience rhythm, time and memory in everyday life. The piano rolls serve as containers to embody this examination.

I consider visual materials to be records of the past. They function as archives that continue to modify within us as memories- a dense accumulation of data that reverberates and resonates depending on one’s perspective. Memories interject, inform, intrude and integrate into our daily lives and lead to a layered experience of time. I use my studio practice to understand this complexity of time and memory.
Nirmal Raja is a mixed-media artist living and working in Milwaukee. Born in India, Raja has lived and travelled in several countries. Raja finds her inspiration in the complex relationship between the East and the West. Her work investigates the connections between individual and universal experience. In her most recent work, she explores concepts of time and memory through her studio art practice.

Raja received a Bachelor's of Arts in English Literature in India, a diploma in Graphic Design from the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia and a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Painting at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. In 2010, she received her Master of Arts degree in painting and drawing at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Fine Art. She has participated in solo and group shows in the Midwest and won several awards.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee                                                 2010 - present
Peck School of Art
MFA Program

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee                                                 2010
Peck School of Art

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design                                             2004 - 2008
Major: Painting

Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia                            1996 – 1997
Diploma in Desktop Publishing
and Graphic Design

St. Francis College                                                                             1986 – 1989
Hyderabad, India
BA in English Literature

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