Critical Membrane | Sonia Mehra Chawla

Solo: CRITICAL MEMBRANE | Sonia Mehra Chawla
26 November — 24 December, 2016, Exhibit 320

Preview Saturday, 26 November 2016, 6:30 – 9:30PM
On View Until Saturday, 24 December 2016, 10:30AM- 6:30PM
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Exhibit 320 presents a solo exhibition of artist Sonia Mehra Chawla’s ongoing project “Critical Membrane”.
“Critical Membrane” is supported by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), and advised by Ranjit Hoskote and Dr. Prof. M S Swaminathan.

The artists’ works at the Yinchuan Biennale ‘Blue Shores of Silence’ and ‘Residue’ are a component of this project— on view until 18 December, 2016 at Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China.

Sonia Mehra Chawla is a visual artist and researcher based in New Delhi, India. Her artistic practice traverses notions of self-hood, nature, ecology and sustainability. Chawla’s works span across several media like photography, painting, fine art printmaking, video and installation. She is currently a visiting artist and researcher at M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation India.
Sonia’s ongoing project “Critical membrane” is an artistic enquiry into the dynamic, yet fragile depleting mangrove ecosystems of India. Some areas of her research include mangrove biodiversity in India, conservation methodologies, wetland degradation, sustainable development of coastal communities, joint mangrove management in India, transgenic rice plants (containing mangrove genes), microbial activity and role of microbes in mangrove ecosystems, and coastal ecosystem health.
The mangrove belt is the ‘membrane’ between land and sea and is disappearing at faster rates than any other ecosystem on Earth. The ongoing series of work combines and encompasses phases of research, expedition and documentation into comprehensive projects, through a robust interaction with Coastal and Mangrove ecosystems of India. Mangrove ecosystems become an entry point to various enquires: artistic, scientific, philosophical, and metaphorical.
The work explores the deep layers of the human psyche, associations and estrangements with nature and analyses the working of a landscape in flux. The project is an artistic enquiry into the role of nature, the purpose and preservation of life, and the role of humankind as ‘makers’. According to Sonia in this critical moment, it is necessary for us to revisit our concepts of growth and prosperity and question our worldview in order to explore new ways of being and living on this planet.

Born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, Sonia Mehra Chawla received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 2001, and Masters Degree in Fine Arts in 2004 from College of Art, New Delhi, India.
She is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the National Award for Painting, Lalit Kala Akademi, India in 2004 and National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, India in 2004. Chawla received the Charles Wallace India Trust Award for Visual Arts 2014-2015, by British Council and Charles Wallace India Trust. She was a Charles Wallace scholar to the UK for a research and studio-based project on Photopolymer Gravure in fine art printmaking at London Print Studio in 2014.
Chawla’s solo projects include “Scapelands”, Exhibit 320, New Delhi in collaboration with British Council India and Charles Wallace India Trust in 2015, “Scapelands”, Tarq, Mumbai in 2015, “The Embryonic Plant & Otherworlds”, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hongkong in 2013, “Metamorphosing Female: Transition -Transfiguration”, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf, Germany in 2011, and “Urban-Biomorphic”, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi in 2008.
Some of Chawla’s recent group participations and projects include: “Critical Membrane Project” at Yinchuan Biennale 2016, “Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum”, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf, Germany in 2015-2016, “The Wave Project” ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark, Scandinavia in 2013, “What Rules?” Nature Morte, Berlin, Germany in 2012, “India Awakens Under The Banyan Tree”, ESSL Museum, Austria in 2011, Global/Local at Henn Galerie, Munich in 2010, “Re-Claim / Re-Cite / Re-Cycle” at Bose Pacia in 2009, “Identity and Masquerade: Staging the Self”, Tate Modern, London in 2006, “Khirkee Ki Khoj”, Khoj International Artists Organization, 2004 to 2007.
Chawla has participated in several International Art Fairs such as Sydney Contemporary 13, Carriageworks, Australia in 2013, and Art Basel, Hong Kong in 2013. She was a part of Project Stage Asia Pacific, the curated section of Art Stage Singapore in 2011. Chawla has participated in ART HK: Hongkong International Art Fair in 2009 and 2010, India Art Fair, New Delhi from 2013-2016, India Art Summit, New Delhi in 2011 & 2009, Art Cologne 2009, Germany, and SH Contemporary 08, Shanghai in 2008.


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